Most people think of fashion as a passive, harmless industry. However, it is the second most polluting industry in the world, next to oil. This sobering realisation is why people need to start changing their attitude toward clothes shopping to reduce their carbon footprint and help save the environment.
Fortunately, shifting to sustainable clothing does not mean compromising on style and trend. Several brands like Scotch & Soda have started to use sustainable fabrics as alternatives to conventional sources while still creating beautiful, creative pieces.
What Are Sustainable Fabrics?
Sustainable fabrics are made from alternative materials such as organic and recycled materials and aim to reduce the environmental impact caused by the use of conventional materials. These fabrics can reduce waste, water consumption, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance soil regeneration.
However, the world is constantly evolving. While there are known alternative fabrics now, people around the world are researching and developing more fabrics that would leave less impact on the environment.
So, this article lists some of the little-known disadvantages of conventional fabrics, as well as why you should consider shifting to sustainable clothes.
Conventional Cotton Crops Are Toxic
About 24% of the world’s insecticides and 11% of pesticides are being used to grow cotton worldwide. This also means that these harmful substances are more concentrated on the crops. This unsustainable cotton farming has also brought the destruction of ecosystems and caused the deterioration of people’s health and living near these plantations.
Conventional Dyes Are Carcinogenic
Regular dyes contain harsh, carcinogenic chemicals like formaldehyde. As such, some of the clothes you wear may contain these chemicals, and prolonged exposure to your skin means these chemicals can be absorbed into your bloodstream. This can cause different health conditions ranging from skin irritations and rashes to headaches and seizures.
Conventional Cotton Farming Is Linked to High Suicide Rates
This is true in India, where around 300,000 cotton farmers committed suicide due to the water shortage, which caused the crop to wither and the loss of income. This has lead to increasing debts which pushed farmers to commit suicide.
Benefits of Sustainable Fabrics
1. Help the Environment
When you opt to buy clothes that use sustainable fabrics, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your share in the movement to help save the environment. And purchasing from companies like Scotch & Soda that aim at reducing the impact of the fashion industry on the environment would give you instant gratification knowing that your money is being used wisely.
2. Support of Fair Labour Practices
Suppose you buy clothes from factories in countries that implement strict federal laws to protect the welfare of garment factory workers. In that case, you support fair labour practices and a proper living wage instead of clothing brands manufactured in countries that may practice child labour and unhealthy working conditions.
3. Sustainable Clothing Lessens Environmental Degradation
Most fast fashion clothing that uses conventional fabrics is made in countries where the production usually harms the environment. This is in contrast to clothing that uses sustainable fabric because the factories have higher quality control and lower carbon emissions. They also use best practices such as less water usage, use of renewable energy during manufacture, and sustainable fabrics and other alternative materials.
4. Higher Quality
Sustainable fabrics are usually of higher quality. This is because they are softer, stronger, and more durable.
Of course, the use of sustainable materials is just one of the many facets of sustainable fashion. A truly environment-friendly business model entails ethical business practices and strict adherence to environmental impact regulations to produce ethical garments.
The fashion industry significantly contributes to the problem of carbon emissions in the world. However, due to the sustainable fashion movement, more brands are doing their best to lower the industry’s impact on the environment by running their business on a sustainable model and using alternative materials such as recycled materials. So you, too, can do your share of protecting the environment by buying clothes that use sustainable fabrics.
Author: Alison Lurie