IMAGINE YOURSELF walking into a clothing store. Your eyes settle on a beautiful t-shirt and you decide to buy it. Do you think further than how it looks or how much it costs? Most consumers don’t, and many clothing companies and designers have figured that out.
The world is suffering from global warming, due to climate change produced by human activities, according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We as consumers need to take action in order to protect the future generations and to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas and CO2-emissions. If not, the results will be more droughts, tropical storms, floods and ricing sea levels as a result of extreme weather changes. Some say it’s too late, and that the world is experiencing the big climate changes already, while others still believes that we have to take action so that the global warming won’t get any worse for the future generations.
Fossil fuels, the main problem
The main human activity that is causing the global warming is burning fossil fuels. According to Planetsave.com, nearly everything that is produced today, and nearly every product you buy, involve use of fossil fuels. Also when exporting and importing products, it used a lot of fuel and electricity that leaves CO2-emiossions footprints in the sky.
It is a known fact that the consumer behavior has an impact on the environment. People often choose unconsciously. The majority of the items you buy were chosen after nothing more than a fleeting moment of awareness (oh, that’s a nice shirt!). The problem is that many people are not conscious about the environment-issues that are happening.
Many designers are conscious about the climate changes and want their consumers to be more conscious too. They design eco-friendly fashion, which is a part of the growing awareness and trend of sustainability, where the goal is to create a system, which can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and social responsibility.
Sustainable fashion means you’ve been given the information of where the clothing comes from, who makes it and what it’s processed with to ensure the item is worthy of the eco-friendly message it’s sporting.
According to Aljazeera, surveys conducted by the Global Poverty Project and by universities throughout the Western world — in places such as France, Wales and California — all point to increasing consumer awareness to negative social and environmental effects on fashion industry. Leading brands are starting to respond. Many fashion industry labels employ ‘green’ and ‘ethical’ marketing to target ‘conscious’ consumers.
For example H&M’s Conscious collection, made of organic cotton and recycled polyester. They have started this awareness and produce eco-friendly clothing, as well as the ethical aspects of the environment. Their goal for the campaign H&M Conscious is to make fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable. With their clothing produced mainly in development countries, they only work with suppliers that have signed their code of conduct, which is a clarification of their requirements for environmental and social fairness. Also other companies have eco-friendly and ethical collections such as Adidas’ Design for Environment gear; Zara’s eco-efficient stores; and the Gap’s P.A.C.E. program, to benefit the lives of female garment workers.
High-fashion designers are also introducing eco-friendly designer-clothes through the environmentally friendly materials and socially responsible methods of production. For instance Stella McCartney who swears to sustainability and eco-friendly products where it is used natural and raw materials such as organic cotton and recycled materials. She writes on her homepage: “Fashion frequently has an environmental cost that doesn’t show up on the price tag.” To be more aware of your consumer behavior and conscious about how your living can impact on the environment, you can contribute on reducing the greenhouse gasses, which equals a better world to live in.
Not there yet
Even though the awareness is present among the consumers and the fashion world, there is still a long way to go to get a total satisfaction. The big companies do have eco-friendly collections, but still they do produce massive copies of not-eco-friendly clothing to consumers that are not conscious about the environment. The solution is to keep building on the awareness through collections, fashion designers and celebrities, but also among consumers themselves.
Words by Milan Botani