With a new year, comes a new responsibility for fashion designers and consumers to incorporate sustainability into their everyday life. As many people know, sustainable fashion is better for the environment. But did you know that it can actually be super trendy, too?
Thankfully, the fashion industry has been adopting more sustainable materials and manufacturing in recent years. But fast fashion overproduction is still at an all-time high and the environment is suffering because of it. For example, 60% of fashion materials are made from plastic and so much of it is dumped in landfills every year. Plus, workers in developing countries are paid less than minimum wage to work long hours in terrible working conditions in order to produce fast fashion.
These reasons and more are why slow fashion aims to limit carbon emissions and promote fair labor rights. Fewer carbon emissions mean less of an impact on global warming of the Earth's climate. When you support slow fashion and eco-friendly businesses, you support workers and the environment.
Ahead, learn about sustainable fashion trends in 2022.
1: Buy Less, Love More
Not only will buying fewer new clothes be good for the environment, but it will also be good for your wallet. In the coming year, you can make an environmental impact by shopping in your own closet and recreating outfits from clothes you already have. Instead of hopping on the latest trends at Zara, you can protect climate change by not contributing to an industry that produces 2-4 percent of manmade CO2 emissions annually.
2: Upcycling Fashion
Upcycling fashion (AKA taking clothes or other items and creating new garments), is one way to promote sustainability and a circular economy. This fashion idea paves the way for materials that are reused and sustained until they're returned to the earth when they no longer have any use to them. Instead of wasting raw materials, you can use materials that have already been used.
3: Sourcing Sustainable Materials
If you buy a new piece of clothing, make sure you're looking at how it's made and understand which raw materials are being used. Organic cotton, for example, is a much more eco-friendly alternative to non-organic cotton. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, it takes 2,700 liters of water to produce just one cotton t-shirt. It also uses pesticides, which heavily contribute to polluting our soil and water, and greenhouse gas emissions. Oppositely, organic cotton uses 91% less water and doesn't use pesticides.
Another example would be sustainable yarns that are organically grown or manufactured by recycling. Yarn is used widely in the textile industry, so it's important that this material has a sustainable alternative.
Nowadays, there are also sustainable dyes. Dyes typically involve chemicals that are bad for the environment. On the other hand, sustainable dyes use technology that incorporates less water and heat to create beautiful pigments.
Seeking out material alternatives and diving deeper into the brands you buy from can give you a better understanding of how they're supporting or not supporting the environment. Being more mindful of the fashion you consume can also help you avoid greenwashing, which is a marketing tactic that some fashion brands use to seem more sustainable than they actually are.
4: Second-Hand Clothes
These days, there are so many second-hand clothes sites (AKA resale sites) including Poshmark, Vestiaire Collective, and DePop. By buying something that's already been used (instead of buying new clothes), you're not wasting more raw materials that contribute to climate change. You'll be helping to stop clothes from filling up landfills, which is a major source of pollution for the environment.
Thrifting is another way people are buying secondhand clothes. Vintage clothes, in particular, became even more popular during the pandemic. After all, thrifting is affordable, stylish, and eco-friendly.
5: Slow Fashion
As we mentioned earlier, slow fashion is all about quality versus quantity and clothes made to last. At idPearl, our mission is to showcase fashion designers who embody sustainability. We took into account how these fashion brands incorporate raw materials, the environment, and human labor, to design their high-quality pieces. In our showroom and online, you can shop for various brands that are making an environmental impact.
6: Functionality in Fashion
Over the years, people have seen sustainable fashion as garments that aren't made to wear every day. However, over time, sustainability in fashion has shown us that clothing can be functional and eco-friendly.
Gone are the days where sustainable fashion is made of recycled plastic and displayed at museums. In September 2021, the first Sustainable Fashion Week was hosted in the U.K, which showcased a marketplace filled with functional fashion pieces that people wear every day for both casual leisure activities and also to work.
7: Giving Back
Giving back doesn't need to be "trendy" because doing good is always in style. But it's becoming more popular to give back through the fashion world, which allows consumers to support the environment and independent designers.
With social media showcasing a range of indie designers, there's no shortage of sustainable fashion waiting to be discovered. It's easier than ever to buy and support sustainable fashion. Especially with the latest technological advancements, we're able to source eco-friendly materials and protect the environment without having to sacrifice style.
At idPearl, we give back to your favorite causes when you shop. We have a program in place that gives 10% of any purchase over $100 back to the customer as a gift card to Global Giving Org so they can choose which charity to support. In 2021, we have also supported three organizations, including Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, The Freedom Story, and Rock Paper Scissors Children's Fund.
We look forward to supporting sustainable fashion designers in the new year and giving back to causes that help people through sustainability!
- By Bonnie Azoulay