Haven’t you heard? Sustainability is in style, while exploitative and wasteful consumerism is out. So why is it so difficult for the fashion industry to catch up with the trends?
In the past, many of us would go clothes shopping to buy cheap garments with short lifespans that we end up throwing out only to begin the cycle again. However, times are changing and so is our climate, which is why more people than ever before are attempting to align their consumption habits with their growing concern for the environment.
If you find yourself talking the talk when it comes to kicking fast fashion to the curb, but are struggling to walk the walk, then check out these businesses that are helping to shape a more sustainable and circular economy in fashion.
Making kids’ clothes sustainable
If you have a new baby in your life, then chances are that cute new baby clothes that are on display on the tiniest mannequins have already caught your eye. Marketers view the early childhood years as a prime opportunity for getting new moms and dads to go overboard on their shopping. New parents are bombarded with an endless selection of adorable outfits as well as child-rearing gear that claim to be “essential” if you want to be a “good parent.” Plus, infants grow so quickly that parents will be constantly purchasing new items to keep up with their child’s expanding limbs.
A popular alternative is sharing networks that parents can join to acquire second-hand items, however, London-based designer Ryan Mario Yasin has another solution. Yasin, inspired by the Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, created Petit Pli, a children’s garment brand that offers items that grow with your infant from the age of three months to three years. This is a sustainable alternative to new, cheap, and disposable clothing. Yasin has also recently applied this concept to unisex adult clothing, marketing these garments as clothes that are built to last.
Another sustainable children’s clothing alternative is Vigga, a Danish company that offers a subscription-based rented clothing line for infants and small children. If you sign up as a parent, then you will receive clothing every three months in the early years as your baby grows, and then less frequently as growth spurts slow down. Once the clothes are returned to the company, they are washed and repaired so that they can be reused by another fortunate child.
In the Swedish city of Eskilstuna, you’ll find the world’s first recycling mall, ReTuna Aterbruksgalleria. All the clothes on sale in this mall are recycled, while other products like food are organically sourced and/or sustainably produced.
The mall is strategically located next to the town’s recycling center, which makes it convenient for shops in the mall to pick up materials for their businesses. The mall also maintains close connections to local schools and provides workshops, lectures, and themed days to educate the public on sustainability practices as well as to attract shoppers into their space.
The “For Days” model
We’ve previously written about the US clothing firm For Days, which encourages people to mail in their old clothes, even if they’re not from For Days, and in return, they receive discounts on new items.
You can send in clothes in any condition, and For Days organizes each garment according to color so that they can be converted into new materials that will be used to make new clothes, creating a truly circular economy.