How Can Fashion Be Sustainable? My New Year’s Resolution Catchup

By Isabelle Rust

In my first article, published at the start of January, I stated that my new year’s resolution was to be more sustainable regarding my fashion choices. Having now almost completed the first month of trying to be as sustainable as possible, I wanted to share three easy tips to show you all how to be more sustainable by shopping more eco-consciously.

First up, we all know the fashion industry is one of the main polluters contributing to climate change since it emits more carbon than international flights and shipping combined. The fashion industry is also responsible for the consumption of 93 billion cubic metres of water that is not recycled or filtered out to be used again each year. This amount of water could meet the consumption demand of 5 million people. These facts alone are the reasons why I am trying to make 2021 my most sustainable year. Having tried to do research on the clothing companies I typically shop at to see how sustainable they are, I found that the information the companies publish are very inconsistent and unreliable. However, I found an app that tells you the facts straight away. ‘Good On You’ allows you to browse by category or clothing store to see their ratings on labour – the impact upon the employees across the supply chain, environment – the impact of the brands resources and animal welfare – the impact of using fur, down feather or exotic animal skin etc. Having asked my followers earlier in the week their favourite stores, Zara & ASOS definitely came out on top as clear favourites, however as you can see they are not sustainable brands. It is often very hard to move on from your favourite shop but Good On You suggests alternative stores with a similar fashion sense and style that is sustainable = easy! This app solves the most difficult hurdle about trying to be more sustainable because it makes you more informed and suggests alternative clothing stores that are often independent, allowing you to support small businesses too. Here are the alternative shops suggested that are better than Zara & ASOS.

Another little tip I’ve picked up is to go seasonless - I have been trying to find items of clothing that I know I can wear all year round. Over the last 30 years, the fashion industry has gone from having two seasons of fashion, summer & winter to having five or more. In the fast fashion industry these seasons are even worse with Zara and Fashion Nova churning out 52 ‘micro-seasons’ each year! With the mounting international realisation of this issue, some of the biggest brands have begun removing themselves from the traditional fashion calendars, for example, Saint Laurent & Michael Kors. Other fashion houses, such as Prada, have also altered their seasonal collections by creating transitional dresses for the fall and winter seasons, along with boots that can be worn during the spring and summer as seen from their runways. Here are some dresses on my wish list that I have been loving, which you can wear all year round….

This silk checkered dress from Ganni is such a stunning option to invest in but it’s definitely on the pricier side of things, priced at £475.

This simple backless knitted black dress is stunning from Cos, priced at £79

And another obsession of mine is the ‘This Love Of My Life’ Dress from Free People, priced at £98.

Finally, another trend that is becoming more and more popular is upcycling - another trick that can help you be more sustainable. As Jane McFarland, a senior fashion editor for The Sunday Times Style said last week, “Jean and general clothing customisations have spiralled into popularity from the start of this year as people recognise a new lease of life that can be given to clothes you didn’t necessarily want anymore.” Upcycling is a great alterative to throwing your clothes out to replace them with something new because the upcycling process significantly reduces the use of raw materials, water consumption and chemical use. Here at Lemon Fire, this is exactly what I do. I customise any item of clothing, for men and women, to stop you throwing out old clothes and to produce a new upcycled item that you can hang up in your wardrobe with pride. You can choose from one of my six designs, or if you have your own design that you fancy we can do that too – all you have to do is fill out a form HERE, or DM me on Instagram @lemonfire.official. I am also trying to be as sustainable as possible by keeping the offcuts in order to make them into a further item of clothing once I have gained enough, so watch out for that too!!

With these three tricks in mind, I have definitely become more conscious of my fashion choices. There is still so much to do but since the millennial generation is already gaining purchasing power along with a genuine passion for sustainability, it has had an enormous impact on fashion and shopping trends. This growing influence has encouraged Conde Nast to launch their first ever sustainable issue this month along with The Business of Fashion stating how custom-made bespoke clothing is becoming the latest craze of 2021.