Sustainable Fashion | Organic, Ethical and Conscious Clothing Online
The usage of the term "Sustainable Fashion" is almost an oxymoron because of the contradiction in the very definition of the words, individually. Oxford defines sustainability as “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance” and fashion as “a popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behaviour” With sustainability in mind, how can one be expected to appreciate an ever changing industry; season after season, year after year, creating a whole current of latest trends that simply fall out of fashion by the time they reach all corners of the globe. The answer lies in diving deeper into the workings of the industry to figure out how to solve this paradox. As you begin your journey down the path of discovering more sustainable fashion, you will uncover issues over issues and avalanches of information about the industry, examining not only environmental but also social impacts of the clothes everybody mindlessly buys and wears.
The sheer high quantity of mass produced cheap clothing and the amount of over-consumption by buyers, only to dispose of it just as quickly, is the heart of this issue. This new age retail habit affects our planet and also the people living here across the fashion chain: from designers, factory workers, models, journalists and consumers alike.
Before the rise of fast fashion, it was easy to track down every single hand involved in the supply chain. People owned fewer outfits with the concept of “Sunday Best” which were self mended or handled by local tailors or seamstresses, in case of wear and tear. The same well cherished clothes were passed down and lasted years. But now, the concept of holding onto an article of clothing for long is almost unheard of.
The current generation has amassed nearly 5 times more clothing in their closet in comparison to previous generations. This very demand for clothing has resulted in over 100 billion new articles of clothing being manufactured annually. With the present day average lifespan of a garment being only 3 years, it is observed that an average family discards around 30 kgs of clothing every year, out of which hardly 15% is recycled. The UN Conference on Trade and Development considers the fashion industry as the second most polluting industry in the world. By these statistics we come to the conclusion that sustainable fashion is not about what you wear, but about conscious consumption and the thoughts that go in before purchasing a garment.
Sustainable fashion is about understanding where a garment comes from, what it’s made of, the hands it passes through, where it ends up and most importantly, the impact it has on the environment throughout its lifecycle. It can be created by use of eco friendly resources or recycled materials, increasing the value of local production and products; prolonging the lifecycle of materials; increasing the value of timeless garments; reducing the amount of waste; and to reducing the harm to the environment created as a result of production and consumption. The traditional “Cradle-To-Grave” business model that is currently mass followed needs to switch over to “Cradle-to-Cradle” model, creating a circular economy.
Now more than ever, we need to reset the industry by questioning the history behind what we wear and returning to slower fashion. Our brand zy-lk, explores the idea of making the fashion industry more sustainable by using only recycled or plant-based fabrics that are hand-dyed with organic dyes. All products are embellished with silk upcycled from landfill-bound silk sarees by hearing and speech-impaired women. zy-lk goes the extra mile to provide sustainable fashion using
- recycled polyester threads, the most sustainable thread available at this point
- mother of pearl buttons and coconut shell buttons, both fully biodegradable
- organic cotton labels and seed paper tags with hemp strings
- leather labels picked from landfills, hand-cut and embossed
- recycled cardboard boxes for packaging
- recycled paper for printing
zy-lk believes that it is not just the clothes that serve as the variable to be scrutinised on sustainability, but every single step involved right from design to yarn to dye to packaging and this is precisely the need of the hour.