“Sustainability is like teenage sex. Everybody says they’re doing it, very few people actually are doing it. Those that are doing it are doing it badly.”
That is according Andrew Maynard, an architect whose work leans towards creating ethical, social sustainable and cost effective housing and who might just have a point. While he was referring to so-called ‘green’ additions or extensions to dwellings and other buildings, the sentiment can be applied to most sustainable efforts, including fashion.
The rise in conscious and ethical brands, recycling initiatives and well-meaning individuals hasn’t come from nowhere, but is most likely a reaction to this global mess we’ve got ourselves into. An alarming increase in the temperatures of the planet and its oceans, a rise in sea levels and the now not-so-isolated occurrences of extreme weather events are a very real and tangible manifestation of this thing we used to joke about when someone used too much hairspray in the 90s: global warming.
In a year when more than a million school children skipped school in a strike against non-action from governments over climate change, it’s not hard to see why sustainability is fast gaining momentum as the only alternative. It is no longer a buzzword but a genuine solution to a catastrophic problem, yet many of us are still missing the mark.
With so much information out there it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to sustainability. Jeans, tote bags and even cotton t-shirts have made headlines in alternative and mainstream media for the damage they do to the environment and you could quite easily be led to think that being perfectly sustainable might mean chucking these out and starting again.
But this is definitely not the case. If being naked is the number one most sustainable option then the second must be not creating textile waste products. This means not buying new, recycling everything you can, reusing and repairing and loving what you already have.
Sustainable can be a scary word if you aren’t equipped with the knowledge needed to get it right, but if there’s one message that should be reinforced when it comes to loving fashion in an environmentally friendly way then it is this: Loved clothes last.