But, what is sustainable fashion and why is it so important?
To put it simply, sustainable fashion refers to a new way of living clothing and trends, that from the beginning are designed, then manufactured, distributed and used in ways that benefit the environment.
The word sustainable means working thinking about our future. A sustainable fashion industry satisfies our fashion desires and aesthetics inspirations, without compromising the future of the next generations.
Practically a concrete solution that works today to help the environment but that at the same time is able to continue working for the next years and decades.
If we take a look to history of fashion, clothing has always been cyclical and much more eco-friendly than it is now. Just think of the reuse of textile materials, taken from furnishing and then adapted to create opulent and luxurious clothes. Do you remember Scarlett O’Hara in the famous movie Gone with the wind wearing a stunning green velvet dress made by reusing the curtains?
Or even to the passage of dresses from parents to children and between siblings themselves, like in Little Women.
After 60s and 70s, however, we developed a tendency to consume garments linked to ephemeral trends, without taking into consideration the waste of material, the exploitation of labour and the pollution of the planet.
Most people in the mass market use clothes produced as fast fashion, intentionally designed to be consumed quickly at cheap prices, leading shoppers to view them as being disposable, to be worn just a few times before throwing them out or moving on to newer and trendier cheap clothes.
The fast fashion cycle is far from sustainable, because it uses and consumes the Earth’s natural resources, like water and petrol and results in a huge amount of waste and pollution.
(foto credits: designer Silvia Masci, Fashion Graduate Italia)
So, can luxury fashion help to achieve a more sustainable fashion industry?
Luxury fashion can be the answer to a more conscious way of shopping, that is beneficial both for the planet and for the person buying the garments, with a higher quality and more durable cycle of life.
Normally, high-end established Maisons, as well as, luxury emerging brands produce few seasonal collections per year, while fast fashion brands try to create as many new collections as possible to continuously invite us to shop and stimulating our desire to be trendy.
The question is…is there a way to find as consumers a more conscious way of buying?
Maybe yes, by favoring high quality, timeless and authentic items, being unique, outstanding and at the same time helpful to the planet and to the entire production chain.
(Foto credits: designer Martina Bavaro, foto by Alessandro Bachiorri, styling Paola Percoco for TFP Talents, model Giovanna agency Fashion Art Wise)
Taking in consideration all the factors, luxury fashion brands can be made even more sustainable in numerous ways: from using organic materials, natural and biodegradable dyes or recycled fabrics and patterns that create zero waste.
The fashion industry is still learning how to be more sustainable by elevating its own social and environmental standards. The fashion brands are still changing and evolving, so it definitely helps for the consumers to focus on their effort to do better, rather than expecting perfection right away.
There are many ways a consumer can be more sustainable, depending on its own needs and style.
How to choose sustainable fashion?
Slow Fashion is a different design concept that invites the consumer to purchase clothing choosing garments that are created to last for a long time, made by a fair labour chain with high quality and sustainable materials.
Choosing Slow Fashion means deciding to buy less items with a much better quality, opting for a more luxury design, timeless pieces and materials having the certainty the product is going to last longer, without forgetting our own sense of style and aesthetic.
(Foto credits: brand Crimosh by Cristina Mocchiutti, foto by Roberto Meneghin)
Upcycling fashion is a branch of sustainability in which fashion designers use their fantasy to take the old, worn out or pre-used clothing or stock materials and transform it into something new and beautiful.
(Foto credits: designer Erica Piacenza)
This type of reuse means using creatively pre-existing materials and objects, often coming from other fields than fashion, to create new clothing items or fashion accessories. This could be a really great choice for fashion brands and consumers, because the creative reuse does not require the exploitation of new resources from the Earth but rather makes the most use of materials that would normally go to waste.
(Foto credits: brand Rivêa by Tatiana Pagano, foto by Diego Ghera, model Marta Torre for Star-let’s Go agency)
Ethical fashion is a different way of living fashion and sustainability, concerned with social impact and the ethics behind a brand, in which garment design, production, and distribution are focused on reducing harm to people and the planet. Ideally, it benefits all the workers in the supply chain and creates a better future for everyone.
The focal point is the transparency of all the production chain, from the materials to the distribution of the garments.
Fashion brands that are considered ethical must be authentic, transparent and give to their customers all the information they need in order to be trusted.