By: Isabella Cropper, Columnist
Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. This is too large of a percentage. What’s the solution? Sustainable fashion.
Sustainable fashion has been around since the 1970s, but really emerged into popularity in the 1990s and 2000s. Sustainable clothing is designed, manufactured, and consumed in a way that is environmentally conscious.
Another way to create clothes, called fast fashion, also emerged into popularity in the early 1990s. Fast fashion was a way to get mass amounts of clothing produced quickly and inexpensively. Some of your favorite brands are probably fast fashion, such as Nike, Zara, Shein, Fashion Nova, and Zaful.
Fast fashion is so readily accessible to college students, who stereotypically love to party. They are also broke, so fast fashion allows for students to get a lot of different pieces without breaking the bank. Fast fashion is also able to follow fashion trends and make a ton of new cheap designs every season. One downside is that fast fashion is poor quality, so a lot of these clothes get thrown out at the end of the season and end up in landfills.
Shopping sustainably can be a daunting task, but making the switch to sustainable fashion isn’t as scary as it seems. It’s increasingly important to think about your impact on the environment as you grow up and make larger purchases. Now is the time to really take responsibility for the environment, so we don’t ruin it for future generations.
Sustainable fashion is rumored to be expensive and the clothing unflattering, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some cute, affordable, and sustainable brands and fashion lines.
Levi’s is a household name for jeans that has been around for decades. They have reused and recycled six billion liters of water, and most of their cotton is recycled or sourced sustainably. In addition, they have a second hand shop with Levi’s denim to reduce their contribution to landfills. Visit their website for more information about what they do.
H&M Conscious is another sustainable fashion line. H&M is considered fast fashion, but if you’re going to buy from them you should look into the H&M Conscious line. All of their Conscious products are made by at least 50% sustainable materials, including organic cotton or recycled polyester. H&M has also pledged to use 100% recycled or sustainable materials by 2030. You can visit their website for more information about H&M’s Conscious line.
Urban Outfitters Urban Renewal takes sustainably sourced vintage clothing and repurposes or reinvents them. Each piece is treated differently to make it look new and refreshed for buyers to get a unique second hand piece. You can find more of their options by checking out their website.
We need to hold fast fashion brands accountable for the negative impact they are having on the environment. Stop wasting your money on clothes that aren’t made sustainably or ethically sound, and choose to support brands that aren’t going to contribute to polluting the earth we all share.