Nowadays, there is a growing trend towards eco-friendly products and sustainability. People are becoming more aware about the importance of taking care of the environment. The fashion industry knows that. Designers such as Stella McCartney have been constantly proving on the runaways that it is possible to look chic and fabulous while wearing responsibly made pieces of clothing. The Italian fashion house Gucci has re-affirmed its commitment with the environment by launching eco-friendly and innovative products and changing part of its supply chain. And, retailers such as American Apparel have dispelled doubts about their good practices by revealing to their customers how their clothes have been made.
It is not a secret that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. According to The Guardian, “cotton accounts 90% of all natural fibres used in the textile industry” and since this fibre mostly grows in dry regions, farmers have to employ large amounts of water in order to produce it. On the other hand, the use of pesticides for growing fibre crops has undesirable effects in the environment.
Over the past years, the fashion designer Stella McCartney has been one of the most powerful voices inviting luxury brands to embrace better practices and replace harmful raw materials for green ones. As the cliché says “practice what you preach”. McCartney is a vegetarian that protects all living species by making pieces of clothing from organic materials that replace fur and leather. Her iconic oxford-style shoes Elyse are made with cruelty-free materials and sustainable wood and her Prêt-à-Porter fall 2017 collection. It’s proof of how animals (in this case, horses) can be used as inspiration in order to create unique and sophisticate pieces.
Elyse Shoes – Stella McCartney, Fall 2014 Prêt-à-Porter
Photos taken from VOGUE
McCartney’s practices have set an example. In 2011, Gucci surprised the world with the launch
of stylish eco-friendly sunglasses made from liquid wood, which is an eco-friendly material used to replace plastic. Then the Italian fashion house made a big move when it decided to release new eco and ethical versions of its famous Jackie, Hobo and Tote bags, “crafted exclusively from cattle raised on Brazilian ranches that do not affect the fast-disappearing Amazon rainforest”. The bags come along with a passport that details the history of the cows used to produce them. This is a step forward in responsible fashion, guaranteeing transparency in the supply chain since the very beginning.
Retailers have begun to become more open about how their clothes are made. American Apparel has been able to change the way in which fast fashion operates by proving that it is possible to produce awesome pieces of clothes at a decent price while ensuring that its workers get fair wages and social benefits, while recycling almost all of their manufacturing waste and by using alternative methods of electricity as solar panels.
So, in the end there is empirical evidence that being sustainable can be Chic! The fashion industry is starting to realize that it is possible to protect the environment and life by using other alternatives.
The only question left is: Are we, as customers, prepared to embrace this new trend?