As the world faces unprecedented times in the wake of the global pandemic, for many it is a time to reflect and question on just how have we been living our lives.
We live in a consumer society, where buying and selling is one of the most important social and economic activities. Whether it be new technology or fashion, as modern humans we are always looking to buy something new. But times are changing. And in an ironic twist, it is perhaps the covid-19 crisis that will bring new light and much-needed attention to the problems the whole world faces.
The current global pandemic, coupled with the global warming crisis and the general destruction of our planet and it’s ecosystems has lead people to have become increasingly aware that it is the individual responsibility to change this world. Our daily choice on what we buy, where we buy, and how we buy can and will make all the difference to the future of humanity. And as clothing has been a basic human need since the birth of Adam and Eve, how does fashion fit into all of this?
Mankind has had many detrimental effects on the environment, whether it be the exploitation of natural resources, the massive amounts of plastic waste dumped into our oceans every day, or the ongoing mass animal farming causing global ecological damage. Our survival on earth is under threat, so it seems that we must turn to sustainability to better preserve our fragile planet. And it is important to remember that we are not just preserving for ourselves, but for the future generations and the animal kingdom, we share our cosmos with.
Fast Fashion: A Major Contributor Carbon Emissions
Fashion contributes to a significant amount of the world’s carbon emissions which means it is one of the biggest causes of industrial pollution. Many raw materials used in creating our fashion garments including virgin nylon, a synthetic fiber made of polymers, do not break down easily or naturally. This type of material along with fishing nets and plastic fishing gear accounts for about 10% of the debris in the ocean. Clearly the fashion industry and independent designers need to make note and make changes to play their part.
Brands play your part!
Brands need to look to be more socially responsible and look at alternative raw materials going into making their garments. As sustainable fashion focusses on lowering the negative impact we are having on our planet to support and cherish our environment, leaders in the fashion industry as wel as independent designers can have a huge and powerful impact.
So what kind of materials can designers and the fashion industry consider as alternatives to toxic and destructive nylons and chemical fibers?
Alternative Materials For Sustainable Clothing
Fibers that are natural and cause the least damage to our environment can be considered sustainable. And you will be surprised to find that many natural fibers given to us by nature are perfect for crafting and fashioning clothing!
As you probably know, cotton is one of the most commonly used raw materials used in the production of fashion apparel and clothing in general. However, cotton is also one of the most pesticide-intensive crop in the world, and the risk of cotton farming can be immense. Pesticides are terrible for the environment and our planet, as well as being able to cause cancer in humans and animals and pollute the air we breathe and the water we drink.
So let’s explore some alternative raw materials which can help transform our apparel brands from being destructive to being sustainable, eco friendly, and totally natural!
Produced by moths, silk is a natural protein fiber. Conventional methods of obtaining silk potentially cause the death of the moth, however there are alternative methods that avoid harming the moths in extraction.
First spun into fibers over 50,000 years ago hemp is extremely fast-growing and easy to cultivate. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species and is totally natural and is a perfect raw material for ethical and sustainable fashion brands.
Bamboos are evergreen perennial flowering plants and surprisingly can be formed into amazing fibers. Historically Bamboo was only used for garment’s structural elements, such as the ribs of corsets, however, nowadays different technologies have allowed fashion designers to use these fibers to craft anything from high-end clothing, handbags, and shoes. Definitely a natural fiber to consider the next time you are crafting anything.
So there we have it. Some practical and awesome alternatives to man-made, toxic, and harmful raw materials that fashion brands around the world can embrace to help save our precious and beautiful planet.