The fashion industry is one of the most ancient industries in all the world. This is the field that is literally responsible for the clothes on our backs, the shoes on our feet, and the hats on our heads. Fashion is all about style meeting quality, convenient meeting efficiency. This has been the underlying mantra for the fashion industry, for as long as it has been around. Now, there is a growing movement that is redefining what exactly that mantra means. Younger generations are driving an entirely new mainstream front for fashion, and they are doing so unapologetically and without compromise. This new era in fashion is focused on environmental and moral sustainability, and it is already proving to be incredibly powerful in the considerably short time it has been in motion. The rise of sustainable fashion has been met with outstanding support, and while in the beginning it was a little slow to catch on, it has since positively blown up, to the point where every scope of fashion is shifting to accommodate this newfound norm. But how and why is sustainable fashion the new priority?
The fashion industry produces roughly 100 billion new pieces of clothing every year, much of it from virgin resources. This is an industry that is solely responsible for 8% of global climate pollution. In a world where the average western individual purchases 60% more clothing than they did twenty years ago, and 40% of those items are never worn, this is disgusting. On average, clothing is kept half as long as it was twenty years ago, a testament to the ridiculous lack of quality in fast fashion. These stats are facts, they are not rough guesses in the dark. And it is these facts that are terrifying and changing the way people approach fashion, from all angles. Younger generations specifically are growing up in a world that is already vastly different from the one their parents were born into, and in efforts to do everything they possibly can to right the ship, they are making the move to sustainable fashion. Considering the fashion industry is one of the largest in the world, and produces nearly a tenth of international climate pollution, coupled with the fact that these younger generations form the basis of the majority of consumers, it is a phenomenal change.
Of course, it is a change that does not come without its challenges. But more and more, these challenges are being overcome with relative ease, and the trend is catching on. Fashion brands all over the world are realising they are losing the interest and loyalty of consumers in favour of brands that use mostly, if not wholly, sustainable methods and models to create their fashion. So, they are changing their ways, redesigning their brands from the inside out. Covered by the most coveted fashion and beauty publications in the world, and highly supported by the largest consumer demographic in the world, even older generations who have been used to fast fashion since as long as they can remember, are shifting their mindset. From sneakers made entirely of NZ sheep wool, to modest church dresses sold online, and every possible piece of fashion apparel and accessories you can think of, the entire fashion industry is going sustainable, in one way or another. As the realisation that modern consumers are more dedicated and drawn to sustainable choices in their consumerism, the fashion industry is changing its paces too. And honestly? It is about high time, too.
It is a shift that even the luxury fashion brands are getting on board with (think Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, etc). This can and should be taken as fundamental proof that sustainable fashion is exceedingly being considered the new standard in luxury fashion. Consumers are no longer more or less inclined to buy for the label, but instead to buy for the sustainability constructs of the fashions they support and wear. It goes without saying that the big, wide world of fashion is one that has been consistently met with challenge and innovation from day one. Now, sustainability is the aim of the game, and fashion brands big and small all over the world are following the direction of consumers. This is just the beginning, but it is a brilliant and exciting beginning nonetheless. The best is yet to come, and sustainable fashion is just getting started.
As we head definitively in the direction of a more environmentally and morally conscious future in all regards, fashion has followed the example. Lead definitively by younger generations, sustainable fashion is being found more and more often to be the new norm. From small boutiques to global luxury brands, and everywhere in between, sustainable fashion is becoming more and more of a priority for the landscape of fashion and style. Younger generations form the single largest demographic for consumer markets, and they are more dedicated and inclined to support and work with sustainable fashion brands, than ever. The heightened awareness of the impact our choices have on not only humanity, but the planet we call home and every living being on Earth, has created this new shift. It is the most heartening shift in fashion’s history, and it is one that continues to bloom and flourish and thrive.