What is Sustainable Fashion and why is it important?
Sustainable Fashion is fashion that cares for the environment by reusing, recycling and reclaiming second hand clothing. It involves refashioning it and adding value to it. For example, good quality clothing from charity shops can be embellished and refashioned with African fabrics. It takes a creative eye and imagination to see which particular items of clothing lend themselves to this approach with each garment being treated on an individual basis. A new term has started to be used – upcycling – when more exotic one off fashion is created from second hand clothing. A firm called ‘Junky Styling’ in the UK and another called ‘Romance was Born’ in Australia take the second hand clothing to pieces and make one off designer clothes for the wealthy. It is also possible to lengthen the life of good quality clothing and to ring the changes from a collection instead of purchasing new seasonal clothes. Clothes can be repaired and their life lengthened and it’s interesting that in the recession that we’re now in John Lewis has produced a Make Do and Mend Sheet inspired by what happened in the Second World War when people made do and mended because it was impossible to buy new clothes. Sustainable fashion sends out a message about the need to be aware of how raw products are grown and how textiles are produced which may involve poorly paid workers. Fair Trade Fashion has developed because people have realized the true cost of fashion and its labels ensure minimum standards in supply chains. Sustainable Fashion is important because we’re using too many of the earth’s resources; we’re exploiting workers and we need to put something back by refashioning second hand clothing and paying people fair wages.