The fashion industry, is the second biggest environmental polluter globally, after the oil industry. For a sustainable future, the fashion industry should change the way it operates.
It all started with fast-fashion
According to the documentary released in 2015, The True Cost, 400% more clothes are produced in today's fast-fashion era compared to 20 years ago. This speed results from fast-changing trends, competition, and speeding up mass production - and, therefore, waste.
The Fashion Revolution Organization indicated that the fast fashion industry generates 100 billion garments annually, and the most significant environmental impact and waste occur during production. Fashion production dries up water sources and pollutes rivers and streams, and the industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water annually, according to UNCTAD. The total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production currently stand at 1.2 billion tons annually, accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions stated in Down to Earth's article.
Environmental effects are not limited to the production of fashion; 73% of clothing materials end up burned or landfilled. More than 30% of unwanted clothes end up in landfills every year. These clothes destroy the environment because they contain synthetic fibers such as polyester, which is plastic. These fibers are non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose. Fashion brands use synthetic fibers in 72% of our clothing.
(Image Source- McKinsey & Company)
In the Mc Kinsey Report of "How the fashion industry can reduce its carbon footprint", the sector's emissions will rise by more than 60% by 2030 if the industry doesn't take efficient actions for sustainability.
That is why it is crucial; now more than ever, to shop consciously. If you want to consume more ethically, fortunately, there is a way to help cure this waste and pollution.
Re-selling your fashion items and buying pre-loved items can save a lot for the environment because it involves extending the lifespan of something already created, meaning an end-of-life cycle for fashion items.
Sustainability and sustainable fashion
In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
The three principles of sustainability refer to core concepts of environmental, social, and economic sustainability, which translates to "people, planet, and profits."
A business to be considered sustainable, a company must be able to
- conserve natural resources,
- support a healthy community and workforce,
- earn enough revenue to remain financially viable for the long term.
What is sustainability in fashion?
It is the use of natural fibers which do not require chemicals for production; yarns with low water consumption like linen; and re-cycled fabrics that can make up a sustainable fashion brand. Also, sustainable fashion pertains to garments sourcing, production, and distribution. The condition of production and the workers' working conditions is crucial to the definition of sustainability.
The designer handbag and clothing resale market is a prime example of sustainability via material conservation. By buying pre-owned designer handbags and products, we extend the useful life of an already-produced item. The resale market has many additional sustainable benefits for the environment.
According to the University of British Colombia's research, buying a pre-owned designer handbag can save over 17 lbs of carbon emissions and 22 gallons of water on average; when compared to buying a new bag.
How can you contribute to sustainability?
You can help the environment by making more considered choices with your wardrobe. You have an option to buy second-hand and extend the life of a fashion item. Learning about organic and natural fibers, prefer re-cycled fabrics, and shop from a sustainable brand is a very good step towards sustainable choices. By doing so, you will be contributing to waste and overproduction.
Regarding sustainable fashion brands, we should admit that no brand is perfect, and we are all learning more about sustainable fashion. Stella McCartney can be an appropriate example within the luxury fashion industry. The designer uses innovative processes and materials such as organic cotton, forest-friendly fibers, re-cycled polyester, and regenerated cashmere to create all of its products.
As a designer she has a strategy to reduce waste across its entire supply chain. It has also adopted the ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) Code of Conduct which includes a living wage definition.
She quotes: "I do not think anyone knows that fashion is one of the most harmful industries. I do not think they know that 150 million trees are cut down for viscose, whereas I have managed to source a sustainable wood pulp in Sweden."
Further, Stella McCartney is known for her unforgettable sustainable red carpet looks. The sustainable brand sets an example for the fashion industry from production to marketing.
Finally, you can put to good use luxury designer handbags. Iconic brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Gucci will stand the test of time, and it is for sure that these designs will never go out of style. So, when you buy a pre-owned designer bag, you will extend the life span of the goods with good care.
How can you take care of your pre-owned
designer bag to last?
Designer handbags last decades and even a lifetime with the proper care:
- You should store your bags carefully. Try not to squeeze them into your wardrobe and protect it with their cloth bag. Store it somewhere without direct sunlight to prevent any discoloration.
- You can use a conditioner spray to cover the leather from rain or any stains. If your bag is size regular or larger, fill it with your sweater to maintain its shape.
- Make sure that you always zip or fasten your handbags and then overlap any handles on top of it.
Now is a perfect time to be in the resale market for the environment.
When you shop for pre-owned handbags on the resale market, you will find handbag models from several fashion seasons and even limited production editions.
The three main environmental benefits when you shop from the resale market will be
- conserving materials,
- skipping polluting
- wasteful production processes, and extending the lifespan.
Furthermore, you will have access to various styles and designs that benefit you and your wallet by saving up. Your fashion choices will make you feel good and satisfied.
Remember to be fashionably sustainable!
Our Editor's pick for rare finds for a sustainable way of shopping are: