For quite a long time, fashion has been about trends and what’s latest on the runway and how versions of it can be produced on a scale, at cheap prices, and distributed as fast as possible. But all of that is changing, albeit slowly. There’s enough data to confirm that the fashion industry is the second-largest waste producer in the world- from water waste to discarded clothes and inhuman treatment of those who manufacture these clothes in dingy halls and abysmal pay. We all want to look good in the clothes we wear and despite the perception that sustainable clothing is not fashionable, the opposite is becoming true with the emergence of new firms offering sustainable clothing options and even older clothing companies attempting to go green. However, differentiating greenwashing (which is simply the impression companies create of being eco-friendly instead of actually being it) from truly sustainable brands is of the essence.

Is it possible to dress fashionably, yet sustainably?

The answer to that is yes, a resounding yes. There are several ways in which an average consumer can achieve this:

  • Pick materials consciously: The sheer number of materials and information on sustainable fashion can be overwhelming.  But it helps to break it down. Since the sustainable fashion industry is quite young, the patterns and designs that are built out of green materials are limited. However, there are simpler places to start. Cotton is an excellent material. It’s comfortable, versatile, and available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Men can go for linen or cotton shirts while women can opt for cotton dresses or Kurtis. The material is long-lasting which means that you can probably get quite some washes out of it before discarding it. This in itself makes your choice greener. Cotton is also a great material because recycled clothing is often made of this and is excellent for the environment.
  • Be trendless: It all comes down to building a wardrobe that will surpass trends and remain versatile, no matter the way you want to wear it.
  • Thrift your clothes: Another excellent way to shop sustainably (and save money) is to go vintage. Go to thrift stores and vintage stores. You’ll not only be recycling clothes and saving them from the discard pile, but you can probably find some great pieces for a fraction of their retail price. Several brands have been making inroads into slow fashion but one of the biggest obstacles to sustainable clothing is price. Consumers often complain that it is hard to find affordable, eco-friendly clothes from reliable brands and not fall for greenwashing. One of the things you can do to counter this is to be sure of your size so that you can shop confidently in any store.
  • Get it custom-made: Another option is to source material that is good quality and get it tailor-made. This way, it’ll last longer.
  • Wear your clothes longer: The easiest option is to wear your clothes longer, getting out as many washes from them as possible. Indians have an excellent way of recycling clothes. Anything that cannot be worn anymore gets made into a rag cloth, which is eventually discarded after at least a year of usage.

Dressing sustainably is actually no more a challenge if you really do your research before purchasing and get as many uses from it as possible. It’s all about the choices you make for yourself and this planet. Sustainable clothing brands like Ethicl offer good quality sustainable clothes, all at the click of a button. They use materials like corduroy, sustainable cotton velvet, and Tencel as well as fairly paid labor. The details of the same can be found right below the product description, making your choice simpler and more sustainable.

July 27, 2022 — Nirant Borkar