Is Sustainable Fashion a Response to Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is the rapid pace at which manufacturers produce trendy designs to get shoppers to buy more. The point of fast fashion is to adapt to ever changing consumer tastes as quickly as possible. Even with the rise of the influencer culture and new retail brands emerging online, brands like Zara and H&M, two of the largest retailers in the world, release hundreds of styles a week at staggeringly low prices for consumers every few weeks. Their swift supply carrying all the latest trends and selling as much as possible has made them profitable, it has also led to a huge environmental impact.

The impact of social media in keeping up with latest trends has led to a throwaway culture. The pressure to wear a different outfit every time while going out makes consumers spend more to avoid repetition of outfits. Change can be brought about in this attitude by consumer conscientiousness. The average lifetime of a garment is 2 years, but it can be extended further by 9 months further reducing its environmental impact. By paying proper attention to wash care instructions, and repairing and reusing clothing instead of throwing it away we can highly reduce the wastage of clothes.

Source : Harper’s Bazaar

A landfill full of discarded clothes

The fashion industry produced almost 8% of manmade CO2 emissions in 2018. Greenhouse gases like methane, CO2, that help regulate the temperature of the planet, are now making the planet warmer due to an increase in their emissions. According to a 2017 report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 35% of all microplastics found in the ocean come from the washing of synthetic textiles like polyester. Microplastics account for 31% of the plastic pollution in the ocean decimating marine life. Garment transportation through expedited and international shipping effuses a huge amount of CO2 emissions, finding an efficient alternative in the transport and logistics sectors can drastically help minimize carbon footprint. We should adopt a closed-loop principle, where products are fully used before they are discarded, with minimum waste generation.

Source:Harper’s Bazaar

Chemical waste from factories polluting a river                           

The rate at which fast fashion brands produce clothing is not sustainable for the environment. With 12 to 14 collections each year, the excess textile waste is dumped into landfills or burned to create more methane emissions into the atmosphere. This discarded waste consists of non-biodegradable fabrics that sit in landfills for more than 200 years contributing to eco pollution. The process of making leather and wool used in high-end luxury goods produce harmful methane gas emissions which have a destructive long term effect on the planet. Going vegan can reduce the negative environmental impact caused by animals. 

As the climate crisis is slowly shifting consumer preferences, sustainability has become really big in the fashion industry in recent years with more brands turning to sustainable fashion. Also called eco-fashion, it is a conscious effort in making environmental friendly purchases. Using organic materials that use less water and energy and plant based materials like linen and hemp are more eco friendly and decompose easily. Synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon take years to decompose and are detrimental to the planet.

Sustainable pieces last longer than a fast fashion piece since it is made with better, durable materials. They are made with natural fibres that break down easily preventing them from being tossed into landfills. Quality is key here, making them less affordable than fast fashion which is also one of the reasons for fast fashion being significantly popular.

Fast fashion jewellery is a similar trend as seen in the clothing industry. It has a low cost of manufacturing, it is affordable, and is fast moving with consumers purchasing them to keep up with current trends and styles as seen by influencers and celebrities. They retail at a reasonable price making it easier to buy them. Sustainability means being consciously aware about the purchases we make and knowing how each piece of jewellery is made. This entails manufacturing in a manner that has a minimum damaging environmental impact.

At Mayabazaar, we make fine jewellery devoid of any mechanization. Each piece is completely handcrafted combining solid, premium semiprecious stones that will last you a lifetime. We use traditional techniques like charakkam, patwa and gundi kaam. Our jewellery is replete with inspiration from nature, the indigenous African tribes, oceanic life and is less likely to be influenced by trends on social media. 

All Maya products ensure a lifetime guarantee. We believe in the concept of repair and reuse, making a conscious effort of reducing our contribution towards landfill waste.

Our recently held jewellery repair workshop at Baro offered customers to bring in any of their jewellery pieces purchased at Maya that needed to be repaired. We work towards making sustainable jewellery that is meant to last and not defined by current trends and styles.

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