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Fashion Innovation: Sustainable Clothes

Fashion Innovation: Sustainable Clothes

It’s no secret our Earth is severely damaged by human activity. Our carbon footprint is left in the air just by driving our cars, even more so every time those brand new shoes come out of the factory, or when the newest dyes are made for your favorite dress. Did you know that in the United States alone, over 21 billion pounds of textile material ends up in landfills every year? These materials take hundreds of years to decompose and when they do, they combine with other trash in the landfills they end up in and release poisonous carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. These numbers don’t include clothing material that ends up in drains, which then spill out into lakes, rivers, and oceans. Almost every business is in dire need to become more green, not just the fashion industry. Harmful business practices put the modern shopper in a bind: we love our new clothes, but we don’t want to hurt the environment any more than it already has been. So what are we to do? The short answer is to become sustainable. But that’s easier said than done. The energy sector has already been working on green energy through windmills, solar panels, and electric cars. But what if the fashion industry was green as well? Introducing: sustainable clothing.  

It’s no secret our Earth is severely damaged by human activity. Our carbon footprint is left in the air just by driving our cars, even more so every time those brand new shoes come out of the factory, or even when the newest dyes are made for your favorite dress. Did you know that in the United States alone, over 21 billion pounds of textile material ends up in landfills every year? These materials take hundreds of years to decompose and when they do, they release toxic carbon monoxide when combined with all the other trash in the landfills they end up in. These numbers don’t even include clothing material that ends up in drains, which then spill out into lakes, rivers, and oceans. Almost every business is in dire need to become more sustainable, not just the fashion industry. This process puts the modern shopper in a bind: we love our new clothes, but we don’t want to hurt the environment any more than it already has been. So what are we to do? The short answer is: become sustainable. The energy sector has already been working on green energy through windmills, solar panels, and electric cars. But what if the fashion industry was green as well? Introducing: sustainable clothing. 

This latest innovation is simple, yet effective. In the same way we recycle plastic bottles and the like, sustainable clothing is made by recycling old clothes. The process involves breaking old clothes down to their original fibers, and then spinning those fibers into new yarns, which are then used to make brand new shirts, dresses, and more. But the first, and perhaps most important part, is collecting used clothes to recycle. A pioneer in this process, Patagonia has a collection center in Nevada you can mail any old (but still useable) gear to. They also encourage their customers to drop off recyclable items at their local store to be repurposed. But this policy only applies to the company’s products, so they probably won’t take your old Taylor Swift concert shirt you got when you were twelve. Luckily, another major company has recently hopped on this wave and taken it a step further. You may have seen Converse’s Renew Line, bringing back all our favorite classic Chucks, this time made completely out of recycled textiles and plastics, available in green, white, and yellow in a nod to traditional recycling campaigns. Now that’s class. They also come in a Renew Denim version, made entirely of recycled denim sourced from landfills. These only just dropped this summer, but Adidas and Nike have already pledged to follow suit. With major companies tuning into this newest innovation, shoppers can expect multitudes of recycled, good-for-the-Earth shoe options hitting the racks of their favorite stores in the coming years. And if you just can’t wait, a quick Google search will bring you a multitude of online options (coming to Saybellaluxe soon). These are a bit pricey, but if it eases your conscience, then it’s worth the extra spending.

Converse’s Chuck Taylor Renew Hightop (White)
Renew Hightop Denim Edition

This isn’t the only way the fashion industry is evolving to cut back its assault on the environment. Sustainability also means creating pieces that will last through the test of time. Have you ever bought a new top, or new shoes, only to have them fall apart just weeks after taking them home? Some companies, such as Northface and H&M, have partnered with sustainability interest groups to only use textiles that have been certified as environmentally-friendly, which also happen to be stronger and will last much longer. The purpose of these campaigns is to promote greener consumption patterns and provide customers with better quality products. So, next time you’re eyeing something in a store, check what materials were used to make it. Look for tags like organic cotton, tencel or lyocell, and silk, all of which have an average sustainablility score of 9/10. You just might be helping the Earth, and saving yourself from another heartbreak.

At the end of the day, it’s up to all of us working together to fix the problem our industries have created. As always, change starts small and works its way up through people. If you are concerned about climate change, or would feel more at ease buying new clothes without promoting harmful business practices, then sustainable clothes are for you.

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