What is sustainable fashion and ethical fashion?

Sustainable fashion includes some categories as clothing, shoes, bag, jewelry and other fashion accessories. They are produced and used in the sustainable way. It means that production processes from design, raw material, operation, transport and storage don’t affect badly to our living environment. These stages are always improved continuously to minimize environment impacts as saving water, saving energy, reduce pollution etc. In addition, people work to make the products should be treated ethically about the working time, working condition, payment. Their lives must be guaranteed.

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Why should people choose sustainable fashion to wear?

1. Reduce the consumption of natural resources

Renewable / Recyclable materials have proven to be a much more sustainable option. The current fashion industry is using the big quantity of non-renewable resources (petroleum, coal, natural gas). After using, they become waste and be thrown away to garbage collection area, then lost to landfill or incineration.

2. Reduce pollution (air pollution, land pollution and water pollution) 

Our clothes are made of petroleum-based materials including polyester, acrylic and nylon. These production processes emit a large amount of greenhouse gases per year that cause global warming. Sustainable materials such as linen, pipeapple fiber, organic cotton, hemp, bamboo,are biodegradable and friendly with living environment. All these materials are grown organically.

Water resource is used very much in garment industry (in the dyeing and finishing process). By contrast, organic materials like cotton, linen, hemp have less water consumption in production than petroleum-based materials.

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3. Help people have the healthier and happier life 

For fast fashion, social injustices still happen daily in many countries. Workers in garment factories have to work in unsafety condition, even very bad condition. Verbal and physical abuse still happens daily. Minimum wages to ensure their life are very low.

For ethical fashion brands, workers have safer and happier life. They are protected from social injustices, abuse and have the fair wages. Their life becomes better.

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4. Use many toxic chemical in production processes

In order to have a shirt on hanger, it usually goes through a long processes (dyeing, bleaching and wet processing) with many chemicals are used. Almost of them are toxic with human and living environment, cause diseases or even deaths.  Therefore, we should always wash new clothes before using them in the first time.

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What are materials used for sustainable fashion?

1. Bamboo fabric

Bamboo is a type of grass; some species can grow over a meter a day or even over 100 feet within 60 days. They can renewable very quickly. And less water is used to grow bamboos. They also don’t need to be sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers. In addition, bamboos help a part to solve air pollution issue because they can release about 35% more oxygen than trees with the equivalent size.

There are some debates about the harsh and toxic processes in production of bamboo fabric. However bamboo material is still a wonderful alternative material toward sustainable development. There are some fashion brands (BAM Bamboo Clothing, Positive Outlook) that very seriously to take their environmental responsibility, work in safe limits to ensure ethical problems. They invest waste treatment with millions of dollars to solve chemical issues in fabric production.

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2. Organic cotton

Organic cotton is grown without using toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. It’s certified according to organic agricultural standards, protecting the ecosystem, reducing waste water and ensuring a safer working environment for farmers and workers. When you buy organic cotton clothes, you should check label GOTS certification. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) is a textile production certification that limits the use of toxic bleaches, dyes and other chemical inputs during the production process of textiles.

To obtain the GOTS “organic” label, products must comply below criteria:

  1. Contain at least 95% organic fiber
  2. Not be treated with bleach, formaldehyde or any other toxic substances
  3. Be colored with nontoxic dyes
  4. Be produced in a mill that enforces strict social and environmental standards, treating their employees and the earth with deep respect. GOTS certification means that our products meet the very highest standards.

Sustainable fashion

3. Linen

Linen is a fully biodegradable fabric with natural color in fashion industry. It is made from fibres of flax plan. Linen can withstand high temperature and is absorbent, breathable and durable. The flax plant is also extremely versatile. Every part of it can create useful products such as: linseed oil for wood preservation, varnishes, omega 3 in flaxseed oil

Line can be grown without pesticides or fertilizers. It uses far less water than cotton and is good for soil health. According to the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp, “Across its lifecycle, a linen shirt uses 6.4 litres of water” compared to 2,700 litres for a cotton shirt. Linen is usually crinkly. Ironing carefully is necessary if you want to have confident look with linen clothes.

Although we said earlier that linen can be grown without fertilizer or pesticides, it doesn’t mean it’s never used. In fact, most non-organic flax is grown using nitrates. Excess nitrates can get into water streams and harm our ecosystems. In order to ensure nothing harmful applied in growing, production processes, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) also applies to linen. If you want to buy sustainable linen, look for GOTS label for brands.

Sustainable fashion

4. Pineapple leave leather (Piñatex )

Pineapple leave leather (Piñatex ) is made of pineapple leaves. These leaves are a by-product of pineapple harvest. After harvest, the leaves are collected and extracted into fibres. The fibres are washed and then dried naturally by the sun. The dry firbres are purified and then mixed with corn base polylactic acid (PLA). After that, they continue to undergo a lot of mechanical and chemical processes to form the Piñatex . Piñatex is now used by many brands worldwide including Hugo Boss, H&M and Hilton Hotel Bankside. Piñatex is soft, breathable and flexible. It is used in variety of products as bags, shoes, wallets, watch bands and seat covers.

Sustainable fashion

5. Cactus leave leather (Desserto)

Cactus material is highly eco-friendly and sustainable. It can replace the use of animal leather in fashion, protect humanitarian in fashion industry. It’s flexible, breathable and doesn’t stain. Cacti can survive in harsh condition as desert. And there is no need irrigation system, fertilizer and pesticide. No toxic chemicals, phthalates or PVC are used in the production processes. It can save 1864.02 % Greenhouse Gas Emissions compared to animal leather, and 77.69% compared to polyurethane (PU). It can save 164,650 of water compared to animal leather and 190% compared to polyurethane (PU).

Sustainable fashion

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