Written by Réjane Salaun, @brandmooks.
August 2019: G7 Summit was the place to highlight new strategies to raise awareness, to think about poverty, inclusion, climate change, and rethink the way we consume, use less plastics, less energy... We now want to see the whole picture and not only the garment have we bought.
As we like to claim with ESSCODE, fashion has to be stylish yet sustainable.
But when we talk about fashion, we think polluting industries, child labor and toxic fields. We all know that 'fast fashion' encourages overconsumption and waste, and is having a huge impact on the environment. Did you know that an estimated 79 billion cubic meters of fresh water is consumed each year in everything from growing and producing fibers to dyeing, finishing and washing clothes? As a sea and surf lover, I would say we now see the point break.
More than a trend, sustainable fashion appears to be one of the keys to tackle all the issues governments are now facing. Nowadays, new processes are emerging to reduce water and energy consumption, and minimizing textile waste, and to support communities locally with fairness. To be eco-responsible is a groundswell now impacting the entire sector, from material sourcing to consumer and textile and manufacturing industries. According to the IFM (Institut Français de la Mode):
- Nearly 50% of European consumers report having purchased an eco-friendly fashion item in 2019
- In France the 46% of consumers who bought eco-responsible fashion products have spent an average of 370 euros
- Second-hand purchases are increasing: 56% American women and 42% of French women.
Fashion choices inspire workmanship, returning to heritage, craft, community and smarter consumption. We’re seeing a celebration of the nature, its elements and the artisans who softly work in connection with Mother Nature; As an example, weavers are "in", wherever they come from (South America, Philippines etc). In the same way, talking about heritage and craftsmanship is becoming the new luxury. It is an experience; we do not buy an accessory, we buy an experience we will later give to someone else.
While you think sustainable fashion, you have to think locally and this is an asset. It doesn’t get more local than your closet. Trends recycle themselves often, so there are undoubtedly treasures hidden in there that deserve renewed critical appraisal. Like a gardener, you can cultivate, weed, and replant garments from your closet within new contexts so that they bloom afresh. Customize and learn basic sewing techniques to modify lengthen or shorten existing items.
This new mindset encourages recycling, reusing, reworking, reimagining and reviving. This last word is a transition to talk about secondhand and, to name journalist Lou Stoppard: “It’s also showing that when young people buy a product, they don’t necessarily think it is something that they will own and live with for life in the way that our parents’ generation did.” “Younger generations do think of ownership and shopping differently. This is massive and it is going to change the way that people consume.” It really seems like we are witnessing a tremendous "revolution", a kind of 5th revolution, in the way we consume, and in the way, our children will consume in the future.
We want to be more sustainable, but we are also searching for some added benefits, such as improving health or cost and environmental savings. More and more consumers continue to choose sustainable products over conventional options, making sustainability a consistent growth opportunity for manufacturers. Some brands are now focusing on simplifying life to consumers; they try to develop some clothes more comfortable, suitable and multifunctional, and long-lasting. This is something really new; it is not a trend, it is a new way of life and it is a global approach.
A commitment to slow fashion is a pact we can all sign. We can still love shopping, but we have to measure all the impacts it costs to our environment and make appropriate choices. Buy less, buy better is our future. Think sustainable with ESSCODE.