What Sustainable Fashion Means:
The term sustainable is defined as ‘capable of being sustained’. Thus, sustainable fashion refers to clothing that is designed, manufactured and distributed in ways that allow the company to continue to operate for decades to come. Certain production and distribution methods used in the fashion industry dramatically impact the environment and increase the rate of global warming. Companies that endorse sustainability recognise the need to preserve the livelihood of the planet in order for their business to thrive, as without a planet, business cease to exist.
What are Sustainable Fashion Brands:
A lot of fashion brands may claim to be sustainable when in fact they are not. When buying clothes from a particular brand it is important to do some research – Fashion brands will often have detailed information on their websites about their practices, how they make the clothes and what materials they use. 20% of industrial water pollution is caused by textile mills, most of which are located in Asia as it is cheaper for companies to produce clothing there. This practice has dramatically polluted the rivers, lakes and waterways in Asian communities beyond recognition. At Evangeline Label, we strive to produce the best quality garments right here in our Brisbane studio made from local or deadstock materials.
Why Sustainable Fashion Is Expensive:
When comparing the price tags of the different brands in-store or online, it’s easy to be dismayed by the dramatic difference in fast-fashion prices and sustainable (slow-fashion) prices. The difference in price that you are seeing here is the cost to the environment as well as the higher costs of ethical labour here in Australia. Fast fashion brands are able to lower their prices by cutting corners in production and material quality as well as exploiting workers. Sustainable and ethical fashion brands on the other hand, take the necessary steps to ensure the production of their clothes are not at the expense of the environment or those who are manufacturing the clothes. In terms of price, the criteria for comparing fast-fashion and sustainable fashion is not the same. The extra cost of a garment is going towards preserving the planet by reducing wastage and increasing the livelihood of the people making the garments. So when you think about it, by buying from sustainable brands, you too are playing a role in preserving this beautiful planet we inhabit and contributing to a local economy.
How Can I Afford Sustainable Fashion?
Often the deterring factor in buying sustainable products is the difference in price. Why buy an $80 top when another fast-fashion brand is advertising it for $30? There are many answers to that question, but in terms of making sustainable fashion affordable, we need to look at it from a long-term perspective. Often the fast-fashion clothing we buy at a cheaper price is made cheaply and is not always made from the best, lasting materials. As such, you could ask yourself how long that $30 top would last you and how often you would need to buy another top to replace the one you originally bought. Sustainable clothing is made with care and from best materials which are designed to last through a number of wash cycles without losing colour or feel. Thus that $80 top is designed to outlast the $30 top, and could end up actually saving you money in the long run.
At Evangeline we want to make sustainable fashion as accessible as possible so we have provided a variety of subsidised payment methods like AfterPay + ZipPay.
Another aspect to consider is how the price of a garment alters your perspective of it. We often view expensive items as having more value or worth. Thus, we are more inclined to take better care to preserve the life of those items by following the care instructions. By doing so, we reduce the number of times we have to throw out a piece of clothing due to damage. This habit of buying more expensive, sustainable clothing to increasing the longevity of our wardrobes dramatically reduces our impact on the environment as we are not frequently throwing clothes out. So by buying sustainable clothing, you are not only saving yourself money in the future, but you are also loving our planet and protecting workers in the fashion industry.
Written by: Ebony Batterson (Intern)