What is sustainable fashion?

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

You will probably agree with me when I say where on earth did this word 'sustainable' come from?! It is definitely a buzz word that has been used quite a lot more often in the past year or two!

'For a product to be sustainable, it must be able to be re-produced over and over again, without causing any harm to the people and the earth.' THE EARTH STYLIST

To be considered a sustainable fashion business, the process from farm to consumer should be following these steps:-

  • Organic, free from hazardous chemicals

  • Minimal to no textile dying

  • Low water usage

  • Safe working conditions and a living wage for the workers

  • Manufactured using sustainable energy

  • Low to zero carbon footprint

  • Zero waste

  • The highest possible environmental, social and ethical standards

  • Accreditation

Some facts about the fashion industry and why your choice is so important:-

  • The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world

  • 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions is generated by the fashion industry

  • Australia produces 6,000kg of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes

  • 83% of women have clothes in their wardrobe that have only been worn once or twice

  • A third of stock never gets sold, it either sits in the warehouse, ends up in landfill or is incinerated

The consumer has the chance to influence the supply chain by the decisions they make. In order for them to make a conscious decision, designers and brands need to become more transparent about their materials and methods.

Please consider the following before you buy:-

  • The type of fabric - is it a natural fibre or is it synthetic, usually anything starting with a 'P'contains plastic, is it organic, is it made from recylced materials?

  • Transparency - Check the 'about us' section on the website, it should show not only where the product was designed but also where it was made and by whom

  • Accreditation - organizations include: Ethical Clothing Australia, Fairwear Foundation Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and Fairtrade

  • Re-used or Re-cylced

  • Zero waste

There are too many critical issues within the fashion industry to ignore. It is vital we all work together: designers, manufacturers, suppliers and consumers, in order to create a more sustainable industry, protect the people and our earth.

Critical Issues within the Fashion Industry - Centre for Sustainable Fashion

'It's a massive problem that everybody needs to participate in order to make real change... we really need to work together.' Jackie Frank (Marie Claire Australia, Thread Together).

At the moment it is extremely difficult for a brand to be 100% sustainable and ethical so to make things easier for you, I have researched brands to determine which ones are taking steps towards becoming more sustainable and ethical. The Map Project will help you find these brands and show you locations of stores, stockists and provide links to their websites to shop online if available. You can search by location, brand name or by category, for example menswear, womenswear etc. The map has only recently been launched and we will be adding many more designers, brands, labels, vintage stores, suppliers and manufactures to the map so please keep checking, you never know what little gem you will find!

Thank you for your support and being a part of a sustainable future!

Lindle Epe


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