Why sustainable fashion is so important

Gabrielle Koster

If you type in #sustainablefashion on Instagram, you get 1.9 million hits at the time this article is written. A couple of years ago,  a hashtag containing ‘sustainable’ wouldn’t have been so popular. But people are getting more and more aware of the impact the fashion industry has on our beautiful planet and its inhabitants.

Sustainable & vegan sweater by Wolf and Storm, fair trade jeans by Armed Angels, vegan leather bag by Matt & Nat.

The second largest polluter

The regular fashion industry uses harmful chemicals, it’s even the second largest polluter in the world because of the use of harmful pesticides. Many of the clothes in stores is made from genetically modified cotton that is treated with multiple pesticides that can cause harm to the body and also to the farmers.

Who made my clothes?

Many factories have their employees work ridiculous hours under terrible circumstances and for a little amount of money. They can’t afford housing or food and struggle to get through the day. Industry estimates suggest that 20 to 60 percent of garment production is sewn at home by informal workers, according author Lucy Siegle in her book, To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?. Informal workers, you say? Children, maybe?

There’s too much

Consumerism has gone bazurk. The world consumes 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. 80 billion! A year! Don’t those pieces get recycled or donated to charity? Yeah sure, but only 10% of that. The rest end up in landfills or flooding markets in developing countries like Haiti where they are bought by the box and actually kill the local industry.

You get the point: the fast fashion industry is harmful, inhumane and polluting. So what’s the solution?

Sustainable dress by Wolf and Storm

Buy less

Invest in pieces you can wear for a long time. You don’t need 12 black bags, one or two is enough. And if you do love trends, add them to your style in accessories like a scarf, hat or jewelry.

Shop fair trade, eco-conscious and sustainable items

There are more and more brands and shops out there selling the most beautiful fair trade, eco-conscious and sustainable items. They use eco-friendly fabrics, produce in Europe, track the proces, pay their workers fair amounts and work without harmful chemicals. My favorite sustainable fashion brands?

Fair trade & sustainable outfit by Kerber