Updated: May 26, 2020
You' ve been hearing these words a lot lately. Sustainability. Sustainable fashion. But what do they mean? And why all the fuss about them? Is it a new fashion trend or is it a new marketing tool for the brands to gain more money?
Let's take this from the start... What does sustainability mean? It comes from the word "sustain", which means to provide the basic necessities to survive and to keep going or existing. If we implement this term into the fashion industry, you will understand that sustainable fashion is the one that uses the lowest amount of natural resources and makes sure not to harm the environment with toxic waste and garbage. In addition to that, the whole process of making the garments, which is called a supply chain, is being done in a safe, fair, and ethical way for the workers and the animals. Because if your clothes are made by children, men, and women who earn poverty wages or animals that are suffering, this is not sustainable and also it's unethical.
But what does the matter with natural resources mean? (For us, what has to do with labor and animals' rights is common sense, but we can talk about it on another post) The most popular fabrics come from a field (e.g. cotton), an animal (e.g. wool), or oil (e.g. polyester) Which means that we find them on our planet, the Earth. (If you come from another part of the Universe, I apologize for the misunderstanding... ;-)
Well, what did you think? That some meteorite brings monthly an endless cargo of natural resources from the outer space?
We are taking these resources by a specific place. And if we want them to be available for a long time, we must either give them the time needed to recover or replenish them by ourselves. The planet is constantly sounding the alarm for us, but we prefer to destroy everything like the Plagues of Pharao, not caring about what happens next.
Τhankfully, all this lifestyle is changing!!!
A great example of the change is an awarded fabric from Austria called Tencel. Tencel is a viscose. Viscoses come from wood pulp, which need a great amount of chemicals to be turned into yarn and creates a lot of toxic waste. What have the Austrians manage to do and why did they get an award for this? Among other things, they are using trees from their own forests, which are always replaced and also they use the water from the chemical process again and again, after cleaning it up. So, they figured out a way to replenish the natural raw material and to minimize the carbon dioxide they produce to the minimum.
Another example of sustainable management is reuse. Do you know that apart aluminium cans, paper, glass and specific types of plastic, our garments can be recycled TOO? In Europe, there are garment recycling factories in Portugal, which use scraps from garment factories and used clothes to create regenerated cotton. This has been happening for a couple of years now and is gaining popularity in the market.
At mikrovouti, we've been using GOTS certified organic cotton so far for our beach towels. Organic cotton is cultivated and finished without harmful chemicals, which makes it safe end eco-friendly. Regenerated cotton on the other hand needs NO WATER to be produced. All you have to do is scan the fabrics to know their composition, separate them by colour, clean them up and scratch them with special machines until they become cotton bulks again. These bulks are turned into yarn again and you get a fabric that didn't need water to be produced or to be dyed!!! Isn't that perfect?
That's why we decided to use this material as much as possible. Of course, we are on a constant quest of finding the most eco-friendly and safe materials we can get. These kinds of innovative technologies are being developed as we speak and they will blow your mind!!!
With the above being said, you can see that sustainability is responsible use and consumption. As simple as that.
It's the way we should all be thinking and operating in all aspects of our lives. Sustainability is not a marketing tool, neither is a trend that will be forgotten. The goal of all the people who work in this sector is for it to be turned into a fact in our lives, and not a quest.
When we speak about cotton, we should mean regenerated cotton, since there are tonnes of useless garments and fabrics out there. Or at least organic cotton.
Isn't what you're reading here common sense? You don't need us to point them out to you. You are already thinking about them, don't you?
So, go ahead. Turn your thought into action. Show it, don't just say it.
Show the producers what you want with your choices. They are stuck in this cycle as well because, in order to keep up with our need for cheap and fast clothes, they have to use bad quality fabrics. They have to figure out a way to occupy cheap workers, otherwise, the maths don't work out. How can the 10 euros you pay for a beach towel justify the good quality and durable material, or the staff's decent wages?
Change the game! It's in your hand. Purchase only what you need. When you do so, choose something timeless, ethically produced, eco-friendly, and safe for you and the planet. You may pay a little more, but you know that it's gonna last, and your money provides a decent wage for the people involved and not a modern slave.
Remake sustainability a part of your life and way of thinking.
It's super easy, like a breeze of fresh air...