Sustainable Fashion vs Trends

Sustainable Fashion vs Trends

Fashion is a major part of our everyday lives. We use it to express our personalities and it forms another person’s first impression of us because it represents our history, culture and education. No two people dress the same, even if they choose the same items, the way they wear them will always be acutely different.

The term ‘fashion trend’ applies to a certain style that gains popularity at a certain time. This could be anything from shape to pattern to texture. Each fashion house will have it’s own take on this and will create a unique style of this trend which is why we constantly see such a diverse range of clothing. As this moves through from the highest fashion houses down to highstreet and independent stores, trends form in a more commercialised way. This makes it more accessible to the wider public audience.

“While people bought 60% more garments in 2014 than in 2000, they only kept the clothes for half as long.”
(Business Insider, 2019)

Once a trend is being mass produced it becomes fast fashion. This is the high turnover and low quality we find when clothing is at a much lower price. Fast fashion is the garments that are trying to keep up with the continual evolution of trends. They’re produced at such a high volume and distributed so quickly to reach us as consumers before they’re out of fashion, that sacrifices are made in the material and the manufacturing of them. These items aren’t built to last and therefore don’t need to be made of durable or healthy materials. Often polyester blends are used because they’re cheaper and incredibly versatile, however as a non-renewable resource and synthetic, it causes environmental problems. It’s also important to consider the manufacturing process. They have higher pollution rates because of inefficiency but although many of these designs are created in the US or EU they get farmed to developing countries for cheaper labour.

“Since November, searches for “organic cotton” have risen by 23%, while “recycled plastic” has seen a 35% rise in interest since January.”
(Lyst Insights, 2020)

Sustainable fashion is on the rise. As more and more consumers become aware of the footprint of fashion garments, we’re all beginning to choose better and research more conscious practices. When a brand or clothing item is labelled as sustainable, it refers to all aspects of the piece’s production. From the type of material, how it’s sourced, how it’s renewed, how it’s transported to be processed, the type of dye that's used, the carbon offsetting of the factory, how it’s transported to warehouses and how it finally reaches its purchaser.

Sustainable fashion often promotes classic shapes and styles. This is because these pieces last and therefore move through with trends. Timeless style increases the likelihood that a consumer will invest in the garment and keep it for its full lifetime. Once finished with sustainable items degrade and don’t pollute the environment. Although trends are ever changing a few changes in our wardrobes will not only help our environment but our pockets too. As larger fashion houses like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood continue to practice and support sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, we should be following like a trend, in their footsteps.