Photo by Rob Morton on Unsplash

What is Sustainable Fashion?

Sustainable fashion (or ‘slow’ fashion) is a movement dedicated to reducing the environmental and social impact of cheap, ‘fast’ fashion.

Sustainable fashion is kinder to the environment

From using eco-friendly fabrics to upcycling materials, sustainable fashion is all about reducing the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

Sustainable fashion supports the people behind the clothes

The sustainable fashion movement isn’t just concerned with the materials or products, but the industry as a whole. This means campaigning for better rights for those working in the fashion industry, ensuring sure that workers are kept safe and are paid a fair wage.

Paguro works with Sapu, a group of artists based in the Indonesian town of Salatiga to come up with innovative and contemporary designs.

Sustainable Fashion Explained

Not too long ago, many of us didn’t give much thought to where our fashion came from.

But that’s all changed thanks to high-profile advocates of sustainable fashion such as Stella McCartney and documentaries like  ‘The True Cost’.

Sustainable fashion sounds challenging, confusing and confronting, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Organic, recycled and eco-friendly fashion isn’t hard to find, it’s just about shopping around and looking in the right areas.

Sustainable fashion isn’t just about materials, it’s also about ethics, designers, and sustainability in the workplace. ‘Sustainability’ is creating a buzz in the world of fashion, with high street brands rushing to prove their eco-friendly credentials and, new, sustainable labels proving a hit with consumers – but why is sustainability important in fashion?

Why Sustainable Fashion?

In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, consumers are more aware than ever of the impact that their personal choices can have on the environment.

After all, more and more of us are waving goodbye to single-use plastics and embracing plant-based diets. Despite this, we may not be aware of the effect that fast fashion can also have on our planet.

The fashion industry’s carbon footprint is so large that, experts predict that it will take up a quarter of the carbon budget by 2050.

These soldier waterproof bags are made from upcycled canvas from military tents, which is hard wearing and waterproof. We’ve also used reclaimed rubber from tyre inner tubes in the design of our soldier backpack to add rigidity and strength.

How Does Sustainable Fashion Help the Environment?

Sustainable fashion provides a real alternative to fast fashion culture. By choosing sustainable fashion, consumers can help to:

Reduce Landfill Waste

Fast fashion is inexpensive, much of what we buy is only worn a few times before being discarded. In the UK, we throw away one million tonnes of unwanted clothing every year, most of which cannot be recycled and instead ends up in landfills.

Sustainable fashion aims to reduce landfill waste by using recycled materials, or by creating clothing that is designed to be more durable and last longer.

Cut out Microplastics

Fast fashion retailers often use cheap materials, such as synthetic fabrics, that are harmful to the environment. When washed, these synthetic fabrics shed ‘microplastics’, which are too small to be filtered out of the water systems and can affect marine life.

Eco-friendly fashion brands reject these materials for ones that have less of an environmental impact.

Slash Carbon Emissions

Making fashion at the rate that consumers require uses up a huge amount of energy.

Sustainable fashion can help to reduce carbon emissions in a number of ways; from creating products that last longer and therefore less overall need to be made, or by using recycled materials instead of making garments from scratch.

How can Fashion be Sustainable?

Is fashion sustainable? The answer is, it can be.

Both consumers and brands can play a part in creating a sustainable fashion future.

In order to be more sustainable, brands can:

  • Make garments or accessories with environmentally friendly materials- such as bamboo, linen and organic cotton.
  • Reduce the use of materials that are harmful to the environment- i.e. synthetic fibres that can produce microplastics when washed.
  • Use upcycled or recycled materials in order to reduce textile waste. At Paguro Upcycle we create high-quality.
  • Create garments that are durable and can be worn for longer.
  • Ensure that employees are paid a fair wage and have a safe working environment.

Meanwhile, consumers can also build more sustainable fashion habits by:

  • Choosing to shop with sustainable fashion brands.
  • Buying clothes made with durable fabrics that will last longer.
  • Swapping or donating unwanted clothes, rather than throwing them away.
  • Creating a capsule wardrobe.
  • Reduce the number of microplastics from washes by using a wash bag such as a Guppy Friend.

Sustainability Purpose

Sustainable fashion is a growing part of design and material philosophy, the goals of which can be dependant on our impacts and responsibilities. Sustainable fashion is a great alternative to high-street fast fashion and the idea of quick and low-quality fashion products.

The process of selecting sustainable materials, work environments and practices is just what the high street needs. Straying away from man-made products and plastics, harmful chemicals and dies and poor and dirty working conditions means that fashion can be safe as well as sustainable.

If you’re someone who enjoys natural, clean and good quality fashion products, the sustainable fashion market could be for you.

Materials and More

When it comes to sustainable fashion, material choices are key. The renewability and recyclability of the fibres and materials used in the fashion industry is the key to making sure products are eco-friendly. There are several types of materials that can be used in sustainable fashion from natural fibres like cellulose and protein to recycled fibres from scrap fabrics and old clothes. That can all sound a bit complicated but let’s break it down.

Natural Fibres

Natural fibres are those that are grown, cultivated or taken from a living organism. Common ones that you’ve probably heard of are animal wools, hemp and bamboo. There are several hundreds of natural products that can be used in sustainable fashion, it’s just persuading high street brands to switch to them. Using natural fibres as an alternative to plastics and man-made materials does the world of good for the environment.

Recycled Fibres

Recycled fibres are made from the scraps of fabrics that are no longer needed after production. Recycled fibres are great sustainable fashion materials as they make great use of waste and unwanted materials. The recycled material scraps are usually processed back into short fibres where they are spun to create new yarn. A sort of sustainable fashion lifecycle.

Upcycled Fibres

Last and certainly not least are upcycled fibres. Made from materials that are polluting, discarded and taking up landfill space, they make a great sustainable fashion solution. Reducing waste and the amount of plastic we use has really hit home over the last couple of months.

A great place to start is to recycle the unrecyclable. Reusing plastics, leather and other man-made materials that usually make it to landfills is a great way of reducing waste and staying on-trend.

Materials do have a large impact on the sustainability of a fashion product however it isn’t the end of the line.

An Ethical Workplace

Making sure that the products produced and the material used is sustainable is one thing, making sure that workers and workplaces are sustainable is just as important. Most sustainable fashion companies are now making sure that the people working to produce the products and clothes have a safe working environment, fair wages and help invest in local communities. By being sustainable in all aspects of fashion production, there is a positive impact for everyone, not just the environment.

Highstreet Hideaways

Understanding the process and how you can get involved in sustainable fashion is one way to help, finding the products is the next. Knowing where to get your hands on recycled sustainable fashion treasures can be hard to do, but as the demand for sustainable fashion grows, so does the market.

Various celebrities, models and designers are jumping on the eco-fashion bandwagon to aid the fight for sustainable fashion. Although they may not be 100% sporting it down their runways just yet, there are still hundreds of options online to source your fashion needs.

It isn’t always easy being green, but by doing your part for the fashion market you will be doing yourself, the environment and sustainable workers a favour.

Sustainable fashion is the new high street alternative to man-made mass-produced products.

“At Paguro we have an extensive range of sustainable, eco-friendly and cruelty-free bags, belts and accessories to suit every fashion need.”

Find out more about how we create sustainable outcomes by repurposing a range of materials that make unique and interesting products.