Living together. Living better.

The role of the consumer is one of the most significant challenges the global economy has to face in order to achieve real prosperity: an example of this fact is certainly to be found in the area of sustainable fashion. 

 

What is sustainable fashion?

 

Sustainable fashion is a practice that, by proposing an alternative to “fast fashion,” seeks to make the purchase of clothes advantageous to the consumer, preferring the following purchase criteria:

– quality over quantity

– ecology, by seeking clothings produced in full respect of the environment

– fairness for the workers involved in the production process, who are guaranteed full respect of their rights

This strategy adopted by consumers also contributes to their psychological well-being, as they are no longer subject to the ever-changing fashion trends.

 

Sustainable fashion: how to get started?

 

The first step to begin this path is to empty the wardrobe. According to the German Ministry of the Environment, 40 percent of the clothes purchased by German citizens are never or very rarely used. One way to start countering this trend would therefore be by getting rid of all the clothes that one does not wear, and this practice should be done at least once a year.

The aim is to start buying only what one need.

 

How to make sure that economic and environmental sustainability criteria are met?

 

To date, it is very complicated to refer to labels, as these are often very confusing. However, there are two specific cases worth mentioning: the first is the case of organic cotton clothes, whose label should read “produced from … % organically grown cotton” (in German, “aus … % biologisch angebauter Baumwolle hergestellt”); the second is the case of the so-called “green button,” a textile seal that ascertains the fair and environmentally sustainable production of the garment. 

The ecological and economic sustainability of a garment can also be ascertained by means of specialized portals, such as Siegelklarheit, or EU-Ecolabell.

 

Are there other ways that consumers can renew their wardrobe in a sustainable way?

 

Yes: Consumers can, for example, decide to buy second-hand clothes from stores, bazaars and flea markets, where quality clothes are often available at bargain prices. Another option is to exchange clothes with other people at private mutual-type initiatives or, where possible, in public spaces set aside for the purpose.

There is also the option, should one’s clothes be too worn out, to engage in what is known as “upcycling,” or reusing the garment by transforming it into something new. This practice could result in a do-it-yourself but, if necessary, it could also involve small, specialized artisans such as local tailors who can redesign the garments. 

Finally, as for clothes to be used on a single occasion such as in the case of weddings and other ceremonies, these can be rented either online or in-store or borrowed from relatives, friends or co-workers.

 

More information on this and other issues concerning the sustainable economy can be found on the official website of the Federal Ministry of the Environment on this link.