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Who Cares about Sustainability?

Who cares about sustainability? Great question. And, one in which I would thoroughly love to answer. Before we dive into this, though, let's be clear that we are on the same page when we speak about sustainability.

Like most things, especially fun buzzwords like 'sustainability', it can mean so many things. When I speak on sustainability, I am mostly speaking about the overall idea of maintaining balance or to a higher degree making things better. Meaning, in the fashion world, the items/goods purchased sustainably should last longer and ultimately, carry the weight of making an ecological, economical and social impact.

At this point, we may again be asking 'who cares?' I mean, who really cares about the impact fashion makes if it creates a spot-on stylish look? Bonus points on the look if it didn't cost very much - right? I completely empathize here. I, for one, am definitely guilty of purchasing a trendy look, on sale, that was most assuredly nowhere near being anything sustainable. And, to be quite honest, I'm guilty of these purchases when they aren't on sale, as well. But, after years of doing this, and educating myself on the subject, the question must be asked, "at what cost does my outfit trump ecological, economical and social impacts?".

This is where we, hopefully, begin to care about sustainability and it's practice within the fashion world. From the design process to our hands, there is so much at stake. Decisions from what is created, to how its manufactured, to where it gets distributed all play into whether it becomes a sustainable product or not. The reason it matters, or matters to most, is at each level, people are affected.

Whether it's harmful textiles (material that the product is made from), unfair labor trade or simply an extensive distribution process - they all play into unsustainable practices that affect people. Most of our clothing is created from synthetic fabrics that harm the earth. If unfair labor trade is a new concept, research it. Some of the worst human atrocities (AKA: 'slave labor') have been done in the name of fashion. As far as distribution is concerned, it steals from our local economy and continues to pollute our world in gastronomical ways. Speaking into each of these arenas would take pages, but they basically all represent abuses within the ecological, economical and social arenas of our world.

So, who cares about sustainability? I hope that we all do. And now that we do, what can we do about it? If you read the LiveableMe blog, speaking on the subject of sustainability should be all too familiar. Basically, the top three actions, according to me, are: shop organic, eco-friendly brands, shop local and/or consinment boutiques and shop less. These are the most efficient ways to immediately affect and reverse the adverse actions of 'fast fashion' in hopes of healing the ecological, economical and social arenas that have so badly been burdened.

Although things aren't always easy to change, even being open to making new, informed buying decisions is a great start. Happy sustainable shopping!


Jenny W.