By now, you’ve heard quite a bit about the issues in the fashion industry. Everywhere you turn, people are talking about sustainability. But the questions is, what does it even mean? What is sustainability in fashion? There are many definitions of sustainability which may be correct, but perhaps not all-encompassing.

So we’re on a level playing field, for us, sustainability means the act of stewarding people and the planet they live in well.

Our emphasis is on people because at the end of the day, having a planet in turmoil ultimately affects people (and all other living things). What we mean is that when water is polluted, people suffer. When the air is polluted, people suffer. When wildlife is harmed, people suffer. Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword. It’s our duty to humankind.

Unfortunately, the fashion industry is chief when it comes to violating people and the things that affect them and this is why we care about it. But in 2019, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are alternatives.

Maybe you’re confident in your understanding of sustainability, and you’re on board. You agree we can do better in fashion. But then you look at the prices, and you weigh the amount of work required to find these brands, and you ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” We acknowledge that currently, finding sustainable fashion brands is cumbersome, especially when compared to the cute and cheap ones at our fingertips.

Frankly,  it’s a bit over the top to expect the average consumer to know that the cheap clothes they’re buying are to the detriment of people and the planet. It shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion. It should be a fact of life. This is why we exist at Thread Life. We’re trying to see if we can make that happen. To see if we can make sustainability in the fashion industry mainstream.

We’re fighting strong odds because we’re up against this behemoth called fast-fashion. Fast fashion allows us to enjoy cute, trendy, cheap clothing. But it also makes throwing away these cute, stylish, cheap clothing akin to throwing away our regular garbage. We don’t feel guilty about throwing away a cheap shirt because it was cheap. It’s gotten to be such a problem that one of the most significant items clogging landfills today is our clothing. Much of this clothing cannot be recycled. Eventually, where will we put it? Another problem with fast fashion is the dyes and microfibers that pollute the oceans that house various living things. However, the largest problem with the industry is the unfair wages that are still being paid to the people who make these fast-fashion items. So if there’s time for a change, it’s now.

If you want to learn how we got to this point, you can get a little overview of the history of the fashion industry, or you can learn more about the secrets of the fashion industry here.

Practically speaking, when we say sustainability in fashion, we consider three main categories: Sustainably new, vintage, and preloved.

Sustainably new

These are brands that are either: fair trade, organic, chemical free, handmade, social, recycled, upcycled, sustainable, vegan, or zero-waste. It is even better if they are certified as fair trade, organic, eco, vegan, or any other sustainable certification that doesn’t fit neatly under what we just listed.

The question becomes, how do we know for sure that these brands genuinely live by the claims they make? At Thread Life, we do a bit of research on the brands we recommend. Yes, a few may fall through the cracks, but for the most part, we feel we have put in our research hours. Outside of working at the brand, there is no surefire way of knowing.

Vintage

These are items that by definition, were made 20 years or longer ago, but are still in great condition. We love these items. There’s nothing more fashionista than rocking a vintage take on a current trend.

PreLoved

This sounds much better than “used.” But like you’ve guessed, these are items in your closet that you no longer wear but are in good condition. Instead of throwing them away and contributing to waste, talk to us at Thread Life, and we can help you find the right customer who wants it.

These are the three categories that we believe help to achieve sustainability in fashion, and we hope that when you shop, you keep them in mind.

The Takeaway

We’ve never met anyone who’s said: “I don’t want to be sustainable”. But we’ve also never met any who’s said: “I’m just so proud of the human trafficking in our fashion supply chain”. You now know what we consider sustainable but we may not have solved your ability to find it. But that’s where Thread Life comes in. We want to make it so easy for you. We’re actually running a startup investigation. We believe that if we make shopping for sustainable fashion easier, you do it more often. If this is you, release the burden. We want to be your free, sustainable fashion stylist. We want to help you find guilt-free, that makes you looke and feel great. Put in your request. Maybe this could be your solution to a sustainable wardrobe.

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Do you think there’s a better way to define sustainability? Please let us know in the comments section.