It's a bit of a strange question to ask when you're reading this on a sustainable fashion brand's website, as for us, sustainability and fashion go hand in hand, like peas in a pod.
But for those that haven't worked in the industry, or been through the nitty gritty of product development, or set up supply chains and visited factories you might be forgiven for not knowing why sustainable fashion is so important. If you’re not already aware (or concerned) about where your clothes are made, how they’re made and what from, then heads up, it's time to start paying attention.
What's so bad about the fashion industry?
The fashion industry emits more carbon than all international flights and maritime shipping combined (compared to pre covid times, when we used to actually travel). It accounts for 10% of all of human produced carbon emissions and is one of the largest consumers of the world’s water supply. And stats like these aren't anomalies, the industry is riddled with issues (re: opportunity for improvement), but we get it, it's easy to brush off and feel helpless if you're not working for a fashion brand.
For so long the fashion industry has flown under the radar, with fast fashion brands growing rapidly, with no second thought for how they can make t-shirts so cheap and so fast, but thankfully, the tides are changing and we’re starting to see a real shift from fast fashion to more eco-friendly and ethically conscious clothing.
So why is fast fashion bad?
Honestly, there's million of reasons, but we think they can be broken into three main areas; the fabric and environmental impact of production, the people who make your clothes, and the societal norm of overconsumption. To briefly explain:
- Planet: The majority of fabrics made worldwide are made from synthetic materials, which are derived from oil. This is a non renewable resource and has a heavy environmental footprint. Other issues can involve water intensive production and toxic dyes that pollute waterways
- People: Far too often brands chase after the lowest product price, not ensuring there's safe and ethical practices for all workers involved. This results in enforced, unpaid overtime, minimum wage not being paid and workplaces that are not safe
- Overconsumption: Clothing production has doubled since 2000, with the demand for new clothes exponentially increasing, consumers buying new clothes faster, but keeping them for only half as long, resulting in excess clothing being sent to landfill
It’s no wonder that we, as customers, are becoming increasingly concerned with how our clothes are being made and demanding change. There needs to be an overhaul in the way we consume clothes and the types of brands we support, shifting our focus from the brands who create the cheapest clothing to those who have transparent supply chains and are making improvements within their fabrics, people, and packaging, ensuring they're making clothes to last, not just for the season.
How are we changing the game?
All of our fabrics are sustainably made, and garments ethically made. From day one we've been committed to being better, and whilst sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement, we've committed to never using conventional synthetic fabrics or single use plastics. We're working to change the game from within the industry to prove it's possible to not compromise on style or sustainability. Our waterproof jacket fabric is made from 100% recycled fabric and our activewear from 75% recycled fabric, both fabrics being Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certified. We also create 100% organic cotton, being Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), all of our packaging is home compostable and made from corn starch, and we use recycled cardboard where available for our cards.
How can you shop more responsibly?
The most sustainable clothing is the clothing that you already own, but if you do need to purchase something new we've got a few tips to ensure you're purchasing sustainable, ethical and responsible clothing.
- Look for organic and recycled fabrics, ideally certified organic or recycled fabrics
- Ask brands who made your clothes? See if they are transparent about their supply chain; find out where they make their clothes, who made them, and in under what conditions. Again certifications are an easy way to check the legitimacy. If information is hard to come by, chances are they're not prioritising sustainability
- Check Good on You, a ratings app, rating the most popular fashion brands if their efforts are good, or not good enough
- Buy less and buy better, by owning better quality clothing, you end up purchasing and owning less, creating less impact
- Shop second hand, at op shops, vintage stores and online alternatives such as Depop
At Team Timbuktu, we’re committed to making clothes that last, without creating unnecessary impact. Shop our collection, with no compromise on style or sustainability here.