Sustainability is a word that has become growingly common in headlines and conversations. It refers to the “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.” In simpler terms, sustainability is making products that are environmentally friendly while being economically beneficial and are made in an ethically correct manner.
It is hard to state which of those three major components (listed in the above paragraph) is the most important. Of course, I want my products to come from ethical production and that's a basic human importance but honestly, I think that environmentally beneficial is the most important. This could be because of how prevalent going green and “saving our world” are pretty popular topics right now.
If we could reach a point where a majority of the clothes purchased world-wide came from old clothing or recyclable goods then that would be amazing. However, it is hard to achieve sustainability in the large-scale (major companies) working world. This is because there are many changes that usually occur such as the initial changes that may have to be made during production...things like fabric. It is also a financial risk, who is to say that your customers will still buy from you if you have to increase your prices because the quality of your goods are higher? Advertising has to happen, programs such as H&M’s are a great example of the start of the sustainability revolution.
Sadly, there is a downside to the movement towards fashion (and all products in general) becoming sustainable and that is known as green-washing. This is when a company promotes their products as “green” when in reality they have more likely found a loophole in the term. An example of this is Comcast who created an “Ecobill” which is an online bill, thus claiming that using less paper is better yet their direct marketing and advertising still uses tons of paper/paper products.
Greenwashing is an especially tricky situation when paired with fashion. The biggest question being, can the world of fast fashion truly be sustainable? Sustainable products usually take time to produce and release which is problematic when the fashion industry is pumping out new trends weekly. Thus, it is expected by consumers that new products be available and accessible at a fast rate. Using more sustainable fabrics might be a step in the right direct but it is only one of the first steps in the marathon that is sustainable fashion.