Cover image credit: Renoon edit — Written by Biyya Mansoer You are what you wear
Fashion is much more than just a garment or a piece of clothing- as discussed by our guest speaker María Fernanda Hernandez (Head of Sustainability and Global Communications) at our partner LVRSustainable in our ReTalks Instagram Live on human rights and social responsibility in fashion. Fashion is an experience and a powerful form of self-expression that is important in positioning our personal values and how we see ourselves within society. There can be a story behind every shirt, dress, bag, or accessory that we wear.
The way we express ourselves through fashion can provide an influential platform to drive change towards more ethical and sustainable practices in fashion supply chains. Here is where self-expression through fashion has evolved into something bigger — a choice and our way of life.
Your fashion choices can make a big impact.
You may be thinking, how does our self-expression through fashion contribute to a greater sustainable future? Fashion is one of the most influential industries out there in terms of social and political impacts. Worldwide, consumers purchase about 80 million new pieces of clothing each year according to The True Cost Documentary. This also means that today, we as consumers are purchasing 400 percent more clothing than 20 years ago! The magnitude of fashion consumption and production today has a substantial effect on our planet and the communities surrounding it. We tend to buy more clothing because we tend to get rid of the clothes that we already own.
What are the value-based choices that you can make?
Fashion choices based on sustainable values vary from person to person. Although it is not restricted to the following, here are some value-based choices that you can make when buying fashion:
1. Eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable: if you love the environment and are passionate about minimising the environmental cost of fashion, you can choose to support brands that are sustainable. From a product level, you can choose to buy fashion that holds an environmental sustainability certification.
You could also undertake a slow fashion approach where you focus on quality over quantity. When you actually buy new clothing you invest in high-quality pieces that are made to last. This way, you are maximising the usage of the clothing that you already own! According to Fashion For Good, simply wearing your clothes for an extra nine months, you can reduce waste and water usage by 20–30 percent!
2. Ethical labor and social responsibility: Are you passionate about human rights? Do you have a strong belief that garment workers should be treated well with good working conditions and fair compensation? You can choose to shop for fashion that is ethically produced. From a product level, you can look for products that are Fair Trade or B-Corp certified for example. Brands such as Kowtow, People Tree, and Veja have a track record of transparency and social responsibility in this area.
3. Animal rights (vegan and cruelty-free): If you are passionate about animal welfare and have no interest in wearing animal products, you can choose to buy fashion that is vegan and cruelty-free! Some PETA approved brands that you probably need to know about are Studio JUX and Mud Jeans. Here is a selection of vegan fashion options to check out!
4. Material innovation: If you are fascinated by the exciting new innovations in sustainable fashion materials you can look for fashion made from recycled materials or fabrics that are solving wastage from food consumption. You may want to check out a material like piñatex, a vegan leather alternative made from pineapple leaves! Check out our selection of products made from piñatex.
5. Charitable: If there is a cause or charity that you are passionate about, you can support charitable brands or brands that join forces with charities. You can be involved in the cause and look fashionable while doing so! Brands such as People Tree have their own charitable foundation with a commitment to poverty alleviation and the promotion of environmental protection for communities around the world.
Still unsure of what your sustainable values are? Take this fun quiz and discover what is important to you!
So many options out there…how can you find fashion that aligns with your sustainable values?
If we choose to shop from brands that place sustainable values at their core, we can outwardly express these values through the clothes we choose to wear. Wearing conscious fashion is a very powerful way to express ourselves, and what we believe in. This way, we are moving beyond the materialistic side of fashion.
As consumers, we would need to change the perceptions we have towards clothing. If we create meaningful and long-lasting relationships with clothing instead of giving in to excessive or meaningless consumption, we are actively making a difference towards a more sustainable future.
If you would like a more comprehensive guide on how you can start your sustainable fashion journey, reading this previous blog post is a great starting point.
Let technology help you to communicate your sustainable values through fashion
We are in the digital age where we are coming across continuous developments and innovations in Fashion Tech. Technology has made it easier than ever to find fashion that is based on your sustainable values.
Renoon is an innovative search-engine platform that allows you to search for sustainable fashion options based on your personal values and outlook on sustainability. We are soon launching the second version of our app, in the meantime take a look at the current version and let us know what you want us to build in the next one:
Start expressing YOUR sustainable values in what you wear today
Being a conscious and knowledgeable consumer makes us be part of something bigger: a sustainable future. Choose the brands that you shop your clothes from or research about sustainable materials, certifications, and ethical labour. Need a little help with this? Browse through our sustainable fashion glossary that guides you to all sustainable-fashion related words and certifications to help you when you shop!
Although using your sustainable values as a fashion statement may seem small, you are still contributing to change. Make your fashion choices be your identity, your voice, and your contribution to a greater sustainable future.
Renoon’s mission is to make sure you can combine your love for Fashion and Planet. Start searching today on https://renoon.com/ or follow our Instagram account so you can constantly updated on the latest sustainable trends.