Is Sustainability the New Luxury?
For years we have been talking about social and environmental responsibility through conservation and sustainability. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we apply these concepts to fashion. There are environmental studies and reports that claim that the fashion industry accounts for one-fifth of all worldwide industrial water pollution and up to 10% of the earth's greenhouse-gas emissions. Every second, the equivalent of a large garbage truck of clothing are burned or buried in a landfill; and while nearly three-fifths (60%) of all apparel are dumped within a mere year after production, 20-25% of the 8,000 chemical compounds produced globally are utilized in those textiles, releasing synthetic fibers and micro-plastics in to our water sources and, eventually, to our oceans. This current linear economy simply cannot sustain itself.
In practice, a brand’s emphasis on providing a positive social and economic impact should manifest itself as a tremendous effort along a viable supply and production chain inspired by the principles of a Circular Economy.
One example of this is Camille Reau. Their ethical mission is demonstrated consistently throughout all phases of the production line beginning with the source. They travel the world over searching for only the finest raw materials from farms that share in their commitment to safeguarding the environment. They source merino wool from a producer who practices humane mulesing-free wool farming and cashmere from humanely raised goats raised under paddock rotation grazing methods to avoid soil exhaustion, and the use of water fountains in pastures and breeding areas. At the mills, recycling fibers lost in the thread spinning process offers a second life for materials that would otherwise go to waste, while the thread dyeing process is performed with sustainable dyes that are certified Cradle to Cradle™. They partner with knitting factories who not only use clean and recyclable processes that are environmentally synergistic, but who are compliant with not only local labor laws but who practice and maintain social ethics and fairness voluntarily with their employees. The results are a thoughtfully made, superior, luxury product in partnership with nature.
Good On You has curated a thorough list of thousands of global brands and established a rating system to help guide the consumer when trying to make conscious purchasing decisions. They even have an app that brings ethical shopping to the mobile space so that they are Good On, not only You, but on all “people, the planet, and animals”. Check them out here.
~ Jennifer Rosenberg is a writer/blogger for www.TheSustainableRunway.com. She has partnered with Camille Reau to help to bring awareness to sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry.