What is sustainable fashion? Does it simply mean using sustainable materials? In a more general sense, yes it is founded on environmentally friendly materials. But sustainable fashion truly has a more complex definition. Sustainable fashion has both an environmental and socio-economic aspect. From an environmental point of view, sustainable fashion strives to minimize the effect of the product on the environment throughout its entire life cycle. From a socio-economic point of view, sustainable fashion should establish an ethical work environment where all workers are treated with respect and dignity. Sustainable fashion promotes both the health of the planet and of humans themselves. It can be difficult to determine whether a company you shop from truly promotes sustainable fashion, therefore the Urban Creatives Map has listed numerous fashion businesses that remain committed to this statement. Let's explore a handful of these businesses.
Dressibly has taken a stance against the unnatural methods of modern fashion and the abuse of workers in the industry. They instead strive to be environmentally friendly through supporting organic farming and ensuring fair wages and healthy conditions for the workers. They believe there is a special importance in promoting sustainable production and responsible consumption, in order to help the lives of many. Dressibly saves up to 90% of drinking water during their production process in comparison to typical clothing production. Additionally, Dressibly goes beyond simply providing sustainable clothing, they also organize lectures and workshops educating people about sustainable fashion. They contribute to afforestation efforts in relation to product sales and will collect your old clothes to repurpose or recycle them. I admire Dressibly’s commitment to reducing their ecological footprint and also teaching their customers about how to be conscious stewards of the earth.
Přestupní Stanice is a second-hand shop that sells clothing and books but additionally has a larger social impact. They employ people experiencing homelessness and design workshops, lectures, and film screenings for the general public. Přestupní Stanice is committed to slow fashion and creating a world where support, respect, and awareness are
high priorities. They believe that every piece of clothing deserves another chance and they help shape people’s consumer behaviors. People can donate their clothes and they will sort through the donations but still pass on unwanted clothing to other projects and organizations to be repurposed. I think it is incredible that Přestupní Stanice ensures each donated piece of clothing finds a home or new purpose as too many clothes are wasted every day.
NILA is a fashion company that carefully selects sustainable brands and designers from around the world that honor both environmentally friendly and ethical work values. They focus on amplifying the creative gifts of their designers to fight against overproduction and waste. They take a careful look at the durability and quality of each product. They ensure all of their advertised products are made through ethical work conditions where the workers
receive a fair pay and there is no child labor or animal testing. Additionally, they analyze the environmental impact of each product and the materials and processes used. They promote acceptance of all people and developing healthy self images. They also interview motivating speakers for their podcasts to explore development and health habits. I appreciate NILA’s focus on ethical labor and fair wages as cheap labor remains a part of many fashion businesses, but all workers have rights and deserve to be properly treated.
Bohempia is a shoe, apparel, and accessories business in which all of their products are made from hemp. They aim to promote environmentally and socially sustainable fashion and incorporate hemp back into the mainstream production. Hemp is a natural fiber that can be
grown sustainably in Europe. They guarantee product quality and fair working conditions. The manufacturing process begins with raw hemp fibers that are spun, woven, knitted, and
then dyed in workshops in the European Union. Their design values center around simplicity, environmentalism, comfort, and function. Their products are comfortable, light-weight, and breathable in which the hemp material keeps you dry and smelling fresh by absorbing moisture and stopping the growth of odor-causing organisms. I think it is innovative for Bohempia to utilize hemp as their primary material because it centers the source of material as well as the production in Europe instead of increasing greenhouse gas emissions through transfer from international locations.
Plove is a brand led by designer Pavlína Miklasová who focuses solely on original Czech
swimsuits. Her collection begins with an experiment and considering the potential of the swimsuit in relation to commercial and more abstract purposes. Since 2017, Plove was the first on the Czech market to use Econyl® nylon fibers derived from used fishing nets left in the ocean in their swimsuit collections. In 2018, Plove started a swimwear sandals line and then in 2020, a line of Plove Home was established which designs vibrant bathrobes and towels. The swimsuits are designed and manufactured in the Czech Republic from Italian materials. I am inspired by Plove’s use of fishing nets in their swimwear as it can be difficult to find sustainable material that is long lasting, but Plove has developed an amazing material that endures all water activity.
Although it can be difficult to seek out sustainable fashion companies, it is very rewarding to purchase ethically produced clothing knowing that your consumer habits are protecting the environment. I recommend seeking these companies out when considering your next clothes shopping outing and if not these companies, then truly contemplate the influence of your actions when you buy your next piece of clothing as cheap fashion can seem tempting, but has tragic societal effects. Sustainable fashion companies strive to protect the rights of both the Earth and all human beings, ensuring all are cared for.