Sustainability Pulse #7

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Sustainability Trends & News Worth Exploring — August 30

Fashion goes by just as fast as time. So many of us try to catch the ropes of what's trendy and hip. Our wardrobe is filled with impulse and discount buys with thousands of growing brands; some still have tags.

"However, would you feel any different if you knew the impact of a piece of clothing you own had on our environment? If you knew, for example, that 6,800 litres of water is consumed to produce a pair of jeans? According to the report by Ellen McArthur Foundation released in 2018, the global textile industry produces more greenhouse emissions than international aviation and shipping combined. The fashion industry stands second only to petroleum as the biggest polluter of the environment," said Bharati Ramachandran, Director – Outreach of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO).

Here are six simple steps to help you explore sustainable fashion:

-Laying the foundation to embrace sustainable fashion

-A paradigm shift in perception about clothes

-Function or desire? Defining conscious consumption

-Being local and vocal

-What about fibres and dyes? Recycle and natural!

-Educate and empower for sustainable fashion

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How This Custom-Fit Clothing Company Eliminates Textile Waste, Celebrates All Body Sizes

As ongoing conversations around climate change, carbon footprints and sustainability consume business decisions, the fashion industry is continuously impacted. Every year, more consumers are conscious about a brand's ecological health, a term used concerning both human health and the state of the environment. The industry has even created The Fashion Pact, a global coalition of fashion and textile companies. It includes the companies' suppliers and distributors, all committed to a common core of key environmental goals in three areas: stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.

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How To Shop For Clothes More Ethically

With increasing pressure to do more to tackle the effects of climate change, shopping without a conscience has become just as unfashionable as carrying disposable coffee cups and supping on single-use plastic bottles.

Every item of clothing we bring into our homes can pose an ethical conundrum. First, it could have been treated with chemicals and dyes that can be harmful to the planet. Then there are the people making the clothing to consider.

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Social media and the sustainable fashion movement

Social media has caused the idea of living sustainably—more specifically, dressing sustainably—to take over the teenage world, as well as mainstream society. We are beginning to value a brand's ethics, prioritizing sustainability and ethical production; this means saying no to the many fast fashion brands that formerly dominated the market, providing trendy clothing pieces for never-seen-before prices. But many users on social media sites like TikTok and Instagram still disagree over the ethicality of purchasing from fast fashion companies.

TikTok, as a platform, has only enabled the growth of fast fashion companies worldwide: content creators find success (in views, likes, comments, and maybe even future partnerships) when they post huge $300 hauls from fast fashion brands. This success gravitates towards creators with more money to spend and those who recycle their wardrobes practically once every month—both of which highlight the app's achievement gap and the unsustainable nature of fast fashion. And with the overflow of said videos also comes the concept of microtrends. Essentially, microtrends occur when an influx of videos promoting a similar trend cause young people to follow a popular aesthetic or seek a specific item of clothing. These trends are suddenly thrusted into popularity, and when the app-goers move onto the next big thing, they are just as quickly deemed worthless or "yesterday."

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'Worst of the worst': why is fast fashion retailer Shein launching a reality show?

The brand, famous for its ultra-cheap bike shorts, crop tops and bikinis, has been associated with celebrities from Hailey Beiber to Katy Perry and Rita Ora. But even as the company re-writes the rulebook on marketing in the social media age, accusations of supply chain problems, environmental damage and design plagiarism haunt it.

For many, the theme of the reality show competition – 'be bold, be you' – sits at odds with what the company has come to signify.

"How can you pretend to care about the environment or labour issues when you support this? Shein is the worst of the worst disposable fashion companies," one Twitter user wrote, addressing InStyle. "Shein is one of the most unethical fashion brands," wrote another on the Instagram account of Khloe Kardashian, one of the judges on the show.

Shein's turnaround is staggering. According to an interview CEO Molly Miao gave to Forbes, it drops 700 to 1,000 new items a day on the site. In addition, retail analysts Edited report that 70% of its products have been on the site less than three months.


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