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Sustainable Fashion

Sustainable fashion concerns the production of clothes, shoes and accessories. The sustainable fashion industry works to ensure these items are made and distributed in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable ways. It also encourages more sustainable patterns of consumption and pushes to change public attitudes on fashion. This work is vital to limit the damage of fast-fashion and the monumental waste caused by seasonal trends.

Eco-friendly textiles are less harmful to the environment and they use up less natural resources. Zara have launched a campaign, Zara: Join Life, which seeks to educate consumers about sustainability in their shopping and promote better ethics within the industry. The Join Life range uses organic cotton, where the farming process consumes 90% less water than that of conventional cotton. The organic cotton is farmed without fertilisers or pesticides and its seeds are not genetically modified. All these considerations help to make an ethical brand with a desire to protect the environment at its core.

Sustainable Fashion

The kit designed by H&M for the Swedish Olympic Team

The treatment of textiles used in the fashion industry can also have an environmental impact. Greenpeace asked brands to join their Detox challenge by using less hazardous chemicals - such as nonylphenol and cadmium - in the production of their clothing. Nonylphenol is toxic to aquatic life and cadmium can cause huge damage to the nervous system and kidneys. By cutting down on these chemicals, toxic pollution is reduced and workers are better protected from exposure. Massive high street brands like H&M and Zara have taken on the challenge and are working towards a more sustainable future.

The long reach of sustainability stretches into the realms of recycling, as the more we reduce, reuse and recycle, the smaller our carbon footprints and the better off the environment. H&M has an in-store collection program and in 2015 they collected 12,341 tonnes of clothes! This demonstrates how shoppers are ready and willing to recycle their clothing, and with a push in the right direction they will view clothes as less and less disposable.

H&M designed a range of sportswear for the Swedish team to wear during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Luxury sportswear being created at the highest level, from materials such as recycled polyester, demonstrates the amazing leaps in recyclable fashion technology. With Olympians as ambassadors for recyclable clothing, hopefully this is a greener trend that will really catch on.

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