Sourcing sustainable fashion

Aoibhín Meghen

Keeping on trend can become a habit, but sourcing the latest fashion sustainably is growing in popularity too. 

We all love taking part in the latest trend, but what happens when these items that are mass produced inevitably go out of fashion?

They go straight to landfill, because these items are part of the huge global market called ‘fast fashion’. Fast fashion is when inexpensive clothing is mass produced by large retailers, often using unethical labour and materials, in order to meet the latest trends.

In the past, fashion only had two seasons: spring-summer and autumn-winter, but now it changes every week. Cheap mass production has made clothing and textile production the second largest polluter in the world, after oil according to Forbes.

However when you hear the term sustainable fashion you will most likely think of bulky hemp sandals rather than chic and trendy clothing. Recently more and more people have been making the move to more sustainable forms of clothing as they realise that the pollution from fast fashion will very quickly push our planet over the edge.

Traditionally sustainable clothes prioritised function over fashion, so how can we meet the ever changing trends of modern fashion but still have a sustainable wardrobe?

By nature the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘trend’ are at complete odds with each other. One supports the fair treatment of workers and the sourcing of organic and recycled materials, while the other encourages consumers to buy cheap and buy fast, throwing last months must-haves into landfill. Despite this there are some large brands that have emerged to provide sustainable options to their customers.

Fashion retailer H&M launched there own sustainable line in 2012 called H&M Conscious. Although there is still major concerns over the rest of H&M’s production practices, this line is a collection of ethically produced clothing using recycled and organic materials.

There are also many other brands that have gained recognition for being sustainable such as Reformation, Lucy and Yak, and Everlane. Weekday is a Swedish brand, which sells on the major fashion site Asos, and is making huge strides in sustainability as most of their jeans are made from organic or recycled cotton.

However these sustainable options tend to be far more expensive than their fast fashion counterparts and while people may be able to invest in a few key pieces it is unlikely that anyone can fill their wardrobe with these brands.

Possibly the easiest way to make your wardrobe more eco-friendly is to buy your clothes second hand. In recent years ‘thrifting’ has even become a trend in itself with many YouTubers and social media influencers basing their entire brand around thrifting. Vintage Kilo Sales, where you buy clothes based on its weight, and vintage shops are popping up all around Dublin – and let’s not forget your local St Vincent De Paul or other secondhand shops found around the country.

Clothing reselling websites like Depop are also a great way of keeping your wardrobe fresh without buying brand new clothes every time. Depop allows people to buy and sell their used clothes online, letting you shop online without as much guilt.

By giving away or reselling your old clothes and buying from charity or thrift stores you can prevent perfectly good clothes from going to landfill. Not only is this form of fashion sustainable, it saves you money as well.

Instead of having to fork out hundreds for highly expensive sustainable brands you can buy second hand and update your wardrobe with the latest trends for a fraction of the price.

Aoibhín Meghen

Image Credit: Vegan3