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03 October 2019

What is sustainable fashion?




By now, the words “sustainable fashion” shouldn’t be unfamiliar ones. The growing focus on fashion that’s good for people and planet has led to everyone and their mum adopting some kind of sustainable label. But, greenwashing comes with a price; it’s literally washed any colour out of our imaginations, leaving us all with an ill-defined, beige collection lurking in the sustainable sector of our consciousness.

Beige aside, sustainability is “in” and it’s a trend that’s transcending seasons and gathering momentum every day. That’s why we thought we’d take a look at just how sustainability has made its way into fashion’s lexicon – without dressing us all in potato sacks.

 

Sustainable fashion: a definition


It’s difficult for anyone to put an exact definition on such a broad sector – but we’re going to give it a go...

Sustainable fashion is any element of the industry that follows an eco-friendly and/ or ethical way of working. Eco-friendly sustainability can be represented by two main factors: the materials a brand uses, such as recycled, upcycled or biodegradable fabrics; and the carbon footprint of a brand or retailer, such as their transportation and shipping processes, their manufacturing methods and the provenance of their clothing.

Ethical sustainability, on the other hand, focuses on how fair the trade-off is for everyone (animals included) involved. Fair working conditions, wages and trade agreements are often the answer here, but brands are also looking to vegan alternatives for materials like leather.

 

The inconvenient truth: there’s no such thing as 100% sustainable


As much as it would be ideal to make our industry 100% green, it’s simply not an option. The first step to understanding true sustainability is to accept this as an undeniable fact. The best of the best in the eco sphere have one thing in common: they’ve got a laser focus on one element of sustainability and they do it really well.

 

Who’s setting an environmental example?


Following his appearance at Jacket Required’s AW19 edition last January, designer Christopher Raeburn was honoured with one of Common Objective’s brand-new CO Leadership Awards in March 2019. The menswear designer is one of fashion’s biggest upcycling advocates with his ethos of “Remake, Reduce, Recycle”. The designer’s eponymous collections have their roots in decommissioned military materials, like parachutes, and utility-based clothing, to create high fashion, high performance outerwear.

Elsewhere Patagonia, who have long been a shining light in eco-friendly fashion, have recently launched a line of sustainable denim which uses less water, less energy and releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. What’s more, they’re all about organic, using 100% organic cottons.

As an industry, footwear has also been one step (pun intended) ahead of the game for a few years now and sustainable brands like Veja and Allbirds have developed their own solutions for both ethical and eco sneakers.

 

Sustainability at Jacket Required


You’ve spoken, and we’ve listened. We know how popular our sustainable sessions and brands are with our visitor base, and that’s why we’re excited to be launching a space for sustainability at the AW20 edition. Without giving too much away, our edited AW20 floorplan will feature a sustainable sector with some of the most exciting names in the business right now. Watch this space for more updates.


Love sustainability? Join the likes of Howies, Tretorn, Lefrik and more at Jacket Required and discover the new era of sustainable fashion.

 
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