Sustainable fashion , also called eco fashion , is a part of the growing design philosophy and sustainability trend , the goal of which is to create a system that can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility . It can be seen as an alternative trend against fast fashion .

Origin and purpose

Sustainable fashion came into the public foray in the late 1980s and early 1990s as Patagonia and ESPRIT brought „sustainability“ into their businesses. The owners of those companies at that time, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins were outdoorsmen and witnessed the environment being degraded by increased use. They commissioned research into the impacts of fibers used in their companies. For Patagonia, this result is a lifecycle assessment for four fibers, cotton, wool, nylon and polyester. For ESPRIT the focus was on cotton, which represented 90% of their business at that time.

Arne Næss , Fritjof Capra , and Ernest Callenbach, the principles of sustainable fashion .

The work of these companies influences a whole movement in fashion and sustainability. They co-funded the first organic cotton conference held in 1991 in Visalia, California. ESPRIT ecollection, developed by head designer Lynda Grose , [1] was launched at retail in 1992 and was based on the Eco Audit Guide, published by the Elmwood Institute. It is made of organic cotton, recycled wool, made of wool, low-impact dyes, naturally colored cotton, non-electroplated hard wear. Patagonia made in a commitment to recycled polyester in 1992 and to a company in 1996. Both share their action for „sustainability“ through point-of-sale materials, catalogs and PR. Both supported the work of the Sustainable Cotton Project, which ran to grow farmers and IPM cotton in California. Both companies contribute to the US NOSB standards to include organic fiber and food.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the movement in sustainable fashion broadened to include many brands. Thoughts, Doug Tompkins and Yvon Chouinard, were the primary focus of the study on the effects of the environment, and the importance of exponential growth and consumption. ESPRIT placed and ad in Utne Reader in 1990 making a plea for responsible consumption. Patagonia has since made headlines with its „Do not buy this Jacket“ ad in The New York Times .

According to Earth’s Pledge, a non-profitable organism committed to promoting and supporting sustainable development , „At least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles and 25% of the world’s pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton. and to the environment , and still two thirds of a garment’s carbon footprint will occur after it is purchased. “ [2]

With the average American throwing away nearly 70 pounds of clothing per year, [3] the fashion industry is the second largest cause of pollution worldwide. [4]

Slow fashion

See also: Slow movement (culture) § Fashion

Slow fashion, the alternative to fast fashion and part of what has-been called Expired the “ slow movement „, advocates for principles similar to the principles of slow food , qui are: [5]

  • Good: quality, flavorsome and healthy food
  • Clean: production that does not harm the environment
  • Fair: accessible for producers and producers

The phrase „slow fashion“ was coined in a 2007 article by Kate Fletcher published in The Ecologist , where she compared the eco / sustainable / ethical fashion industry to the slow food movement: [6]

The concept of slow fashion borrows heavily from the Slow Food Movement. Founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986, Slow Food and Food Relationships. It defends biodiversity in our food supply by contrasting the standardization of taste, defends the need for consumer information and protects cultural identities tied to food. It has spawned a wealth of other slow movements. Slow Cities, for example, design with slow values ​​in the context of a town or city and a commitment to improve its citizens‘ quality of life. [7]

Some elements of slow fashion include: buying vintage clothes, redesigning old clothes, shopping from smaller producers, making clothes and accessories. New ideas and product innovations are constantly redefining slow fashion, so using a static, single definition would ignore the evolving nature of the concept. [6]

Unlike fast fashion , slow fashion production provides quality of life to the life of the garment. Slow fashion can be considered a revolt or action against the fast fashion movement. Developing a garment with a cultural and emotional connection is also relevant to the issue of clothing. [8] A taxation is in early stages of development in order to produce products that are not made with recycled, organic, or re-purposed materials. [9] Utilizing materials already made will reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. [9]

There is also an important movement towards companies being more transparent. The need for companies to showcase their manufacturing processes. In accord with the slow movement there is a tendency towards more consumers buying and selling with their eco-friendly processes. Consumers still need to do their research as they use the idea of ​​eco-fashion without fully backing it up.

Although price is sometimes used for purchasing slow fashion items, in the long run, one piece of clothing and clothing will be produced. Generally, the more a person spends on their clothes, the more value the item will hold (see empathic design below). It makes the piece more special and will make the person feel better about what they wear. Slow fashion clothing is made of high quality materials that can be worn over the years. Slow fashion garments should also consider their end of lifecycle. Generally it is well made and with natural fibers it can be broken down easier. One current problem with the fast fashion industry is the amount of waste landfills.

Kate Fletcher, a researcher, author, consultant, and design activist, and the author of Sustainable Fashion and Textiles . Her writings integrated design thinking with fashion and textiles is a necessary way to move towards a more sustainable fashion industry.

Empathic design as a tool for slow fashion

See also: Empathic design

Empathic design is a concept that is a part of user-centred design aiming to promote a deeper connection to the consumer, making it important to integrate it with slow fashion. This can be done by understanding the consumers‘ needs, values, and emotions. A special meaning must be associated with the product or its use to inspire deeper attachment. Focusing on positive product experience can also result in product or brand attachment which can be broken down into three levels: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. The visceral component has to do with first impressions and first impressions. Human behavior is about how consumers interact with environments and objects, taking into consideration an objects pleasure and effectiveness. Enzo Manzini, a design thinker said there is a need to understand behavior and the underlying reasons for their consumptions in order to direct their consumptions towards more sustainable alternatives. The reflective level deals with personal attachment based on an individual’s memories and experiences. It can consist of feelings, emotions, self-image, personal satisfaction, memories and cognition.[10]


There are many factors when considering the sustainability of a material. The renewability and source of a fiber, the process of how a raw fiber is turned into a textile, the working conditions of the people producing the materials, and the material’s total carbon footprint.

Natural fibers

Natural fibers are fibers which are found in nature and are not petroleum-based. Natural fibers can be categorized into two main groups, cellulose or plant fiber and protein or animal fiber. Uses of these fibers can be anything from buttons to eyewear such as sunglasses.[11]


Cotton is one of the most widely grown and chemical-intensive crops in the world.[12] Conventionally grown cotton uses approximately 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the world’s pesticides.[13] Other cellulosefibers include: jute, flax, hemp, ramie, abaca, bamboo (used for viscose), soy, corn, banana, pineapple, beechwood (used for rayon).


Natural protein fibers include: wool, silk, angora, camel, alpaca, llama, vicuna, cashmere, and mohair.


Fibers manufactured from natural materials include: Lyocell and polylactic acid (PLA).

Recycled fibers

Recycled or reclaimed fibers are made from scraps of fabrics collected from clothing factories, which are processed back into short fibers for spinning into a new yarn. There are only a few facilities globally that are able to process the clippings.[citation needed] Variations range from a blend of recycled cotton fibers with added RePET yarns for strength to recycled cotton fibers with virgin acrylic fibers which are added for color consistency and strength.

Upcycled fibers

These fibers are made from materials that are not originally used to make fibers, or they are thrown away being considered trash from origin. This includes fibers made of plastic and gillnets . An example of the use of this type of fiber can be seen in the Adidas shoe made with Parley for the Oceans. [14]

Another example is fish made from fish skins that are a by-product of the food industry . [15] Fish leather tanning is a pollutant that is harmful to the environment. citation needed ] Also, no poisonous, explosive hydrogen sulfide gas is released in the process. [16]


Designers say that they are trying to become fashionable, rather than producing „hippie clothes“. [17] Due to the efforts taken to minimize harm in the growth, manufacturing, and shipping of the products, sustainable fashion is typically more expensive. [17]

Celebrities, models, and designers such Lucy Tammam , Stella McCartney , Ioana Ciolacu , Los Angeles Frock, Love Green, Edun, Stewart + Brown, Shalom Harlow, and Summer Rayne Oakes. [18] Portland Fashion Week, which has featured sustainable designers and apparel since 2005, has also attracted international press for its efforts to sustainably produce a fashion week that showcases 100% eco-friendly designs. [19]

Eastern European prisoners are designing sustainable fashion in Latvia and Estonia under the Heavy Eco label, [20] part of a trend called „prison couture“. [21]

Considered by whom? ] The Prince Charming of Green Designers, Ryan Jude Novelline created a ballroom gown as a result of the pages of recycled and discarded children’s books The Golden Book Gown that „prove [d] that green fashion can provide as rich a fantasia as can be imagined. “ [22] [23]

Eco-couture designer Lucy Tammam uses eri silk ( ahimsa / peace silk ) and organic cotton to create her eco friendly couture and bridal wear collections. [24] [25]

Elena Garcia, Nancy Dee, Beyond Skin, Beyond Skin, Oliberté, Hetty Rose, DaRousso and Eva Cassis. [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32]

The sustainable fashion movement has got to make significant in-roads in the bedding segment of the home fashion category. Brands Such As Boll & Branch make all of Their products from organic cotton and-have-been certified by Fair Trade USA . [33]

The Hemp Trading Company is an ethically driven underground clothing label, specializing in environmentally friendly, politically conscious made of hemp, bamboo, organic cotton and other sustainable fabrics. [34]


There are some organizations working to increase opportunities for sustainable designers and increase the visibility of the movement. The National Association of Sustainable Fashion Designers is one of those organizations. Its purpose is to assist entrepreneurs with growing the business of the environment.

Sustainable Designers provides specialized triple bottom line education, training, and access to tools and industry resources that advance creative, innovative and high impact businesses. The organization’s mission is to create social change through design and business related businesses by providing education, training and programs that are transformative to the industry and to cultivate collaboration, sustainability and economic growth.

Red Carpet Green Dress, founded by Suzy Cameron Friends , is a global initiative showcasing sustainable fashion on the red carpet at the Oscars . [35] Talent Supporting the project includes Naomie Harris , Missi Pyle , Kellan Lutz and Olga Kurylenko . Brisbane is an Australian fashion show that sheds light on sustainable designers in Australia. [36]

Eco Age, a consultancy company specializing in enabling businesses to achieve growth and sustainability is one of the most recognizable organizations that promote sustainable fashion. Its creative director, Livia Firth, is also the founder of the Green Carpet Challenge which aims to promote ethically made outfits from fashion designers. [37]

Ecoluxe London, a not-for-profit platform, with a biannual exhibition during London Fashion Week and showcasing eco-sustainable and ethical designers. [26] [38]

Fashion Takes Action formed in 2007 and received a non-profit status in 2011. It is an organization that promotes social justice, fair trade and sustainable clothing production and sustainability. FTA promotes sustainable fashion via social media, PR, hosting fashion shows, public talks, school readings and conferences. [39]

The Ethical Fashion Initiative, a flagship program of the International Trade Center , has joined the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization , enabling craftspeople living in urban and rural poverty to connect with the global fashion chain. [40] [41] The Initiative also works with the rising generation of talented artists from Africa, encouraging sustainable growth and creative collaborations with artisans on the continent. [42] [43] The Ethical Fashion Initiative is headed by Simone Cipriani .

The advent of technology has opened up an avenue of apps and websites to streamline ethical fashion for the Higg Index, Free2Workd and FairTrace Tool. [44]


Though organic cotton is regarded a more sustainable choice for fabric, as it uses Fewer pesticides and chemical fertilizers , it remains less than 1% total cotton production. Hurdles to growth include the production of organic fruit and vegetables. The up front financial risks and costs are, therefore, shouldered by the farmers, many of them struggle to compete with economies of scale of corporate farms.

Though some designers have marketed bamboo fiber , it is an alternative to cotton, that it absorbs greenhouse gases during its life cycle and grows quickly and without pesticides, the conversion of bamboo fiber to be highly toxic and highly toxic. The FTC ruled that labeling of bamboo fiber should read „radius from bamboo“. Bamboo fabric can cause environmental harm in production due to the chemicals used to create a soft viscose from hard bamboo. [45] Impacts relative to production of new materials made recycled, surplus, and vintage fabric arguably the most sustainable choice, as the raw material requires no agriculture and no manufacturing to produce. quote needed ]However, it must be noted that these are indicative of a system of production and consumption that creates excessive volumes of waste.

Western consumers‘ environmental interest is increasing, which can be used to increase sales. And because of environmental and sustainability issues are complex, it is also easy to mislead consumers. Companies can use sustainability as a „marketing ploy“ something that can be seen as greenwashing . [46]

Future of fashion sustainability

On May 3, 2012, the world’s largest summit on fashion sustainability was held in Copenhagen, gathering more than 1,000 key stakeholders in the industry to discuss the importance of making sustainable fashion industry. Copenhagen Fashion Summit in their effort to create a movement within the industry. [47]

In July 2012, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition launched the Higg Index , a self-assessment standard designed to measure and promote sustainable apparel chains and footwear industries. [48] [49] Founded in 2011, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose members include the apparel companies, retailers, industry affiliates and trade associations, the US Environmental Protection Agency , academic institutions and environmental nonprofits. [50] [51] [52]

See also

  • Circular economy
  • Ecodesign
  • Global trade of secondhand clothing
  • Reusable shopping bag
  • Sustainable clothing
  • Textile recycling
  • trashion


  2. Jump up^ „Future Fashion“ . Archived from the original on 20 April 2008 . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  3. Jump up^ Culp, Alice (11 July 2014). „Thrift stores sell damaged items to textile recyclers“ . South Bend Tribune . Retrieved 2016-04-25 .
  4. Jump up^ Sweeny, Glynis (13 August 2015). „It’s the second dirtiest thing in the world-and you’re wearing it“ . AlterNet . Retrieved 2016-04-25 .
  5. Jump up^ „Our Philosophy“ . Slow Food International . Retrieved September 1,2017 .
  6. ^ Jump up to:b Valverde Yarina. „What is ethical fashion?“ . . Retrieved September 1, 2017 .
  7. Jump up^ Fletcher, Kate (September 2007). „Slow fashion“ . The Ecologist . 37(5): 61.
  8. Jump up^ Kuusk, Kristi; Tomico, Oscar; Langereis, Geert; Wensveen, Stephan (2012). „Crafting smart textiles-a meaningful way towards societal sustainability in the fashion field?“ . The Nordic Textile Journal . 1 : 6-15.
  9. ^ Jump up to:b Choi, Tsan-Ming (April 2013). „Carbon Footprint Tax on Fashion Supply Chain Systems“. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology . 68 (1-4): 835-847. doi : 10.1007 / s00170-013-4947-4 .
  10. Jump up^ Niinimaki, K. „I Love This Dress It Makes Me Feel Beautiful“. Design Journal . 14 : 165-185.
  11. Jump up^ Capulet, Ian (12 February 2015). „Go wood: sunglasses for sustainable living“ . . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  12. Jump up^ „Sustainable Cotton Project: Who we are“ . . Archived from the original on 14 February 2005 . Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  13. Jump up^ „Cotton and the environment“ . Organic Trade Association . Archived from the original on 16 April 2015 . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  14. Jump up^ Binlot, Ann (30 June 2015). „Adidas and Parley team up for sneakers made from recycled ocean waste“ . Forbes . Archived from the original on 3 October 2015 . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  15. Jump up^ Braw, Elisabeth (16 October 2014). „Prada, Dior and Nike are finding a new purpose for fish skins“ . The Guardian . Archived from the originalon 29 September 2015 . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  16. Jump up^ Bryson, Peter D. (1996). „Sulfide poisoning“ . Comprehensive review in toxicology for emergency clinicians (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis . p. 367. ISBN  1560326123 . OCLC  34905986 . Occupational exposure to hydrogen is prevalent in the petrochemical, paper pulp, leather tanning, food processing, and sewage industries. The general public also faces the risk of H2S exposure as a result of major industrial accidents emanating from these industries.
  17. ^ Jump up to:b Singer, Sally; Sullivan, Robert (May 2007). „Earth to fashion“. Vogue . 197 (5): 128-132.
  18. Jump up^ Tammam, Lucy. „Vegan Couture: Tammam“ . Eluxe Magazine . Chiara Spagnoli Garbardi . Retrieved July 17, 2017 .
  19. Jump up^ Mariuccini, Flavia. „Portland Fashion Week: Book moda“ . Archived from the original on 14 October 2007 . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  20. Jump up^ „Prison Couture mainlines eco-ethics“ . Estonian Public Broadcasting. 9 January 2011. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012 . Retrieved 19 May 2012 .
  21. Jump up^ by Leon, Christine (15 September 2011). „The Malcolm X T-shirt Revisited“ . Archived from the original on 2 October 2015 . Retrieved 19 May 2012 .
  22. Jump up^ Pham, Diane (October 1, 2012), „High Fashion as Eco-Friendly Child’s Play“ , Chevrolet , archived from the original on January 23, 2014 , retrieved January 23, 2014
  23. Jump up^ Bluemle, Elizabeth (October 11, 2013), „A Talk with the Creator of the Gown Made of Golden Books“ , Publishers Weekly , archived from the original on January 23, 2014 , retrieved June 11, 2014
  24. Jump up^ Jones, Liz. „You can not have bridal gown without silk – but it’s hideously cruel, so what should Kate wear?“ . . Retrieved 30 September 2014 .
  25. Jump up^ Malik Chua, Jasmine. „House of Tammam UK Debuts Only Ethical Ready-to-Wear Bridal Gowns“ . Playre . Retrieved 30 September 2014 .
  26. ^ Jump up to:b Camilli, Sascha. „Chic With A Conscience: Ecoluxe At London Fashion Week“ . Vilda Magazine . Retrieved 30 September 2014 .
  27. Jump up^ „By Stamo“ . Ecoluxe London . Retrieved 30 September 2014 .
  28. Jump up^ Wicker, Alden. „9 Ethical And Sustainable Brands I Found This Month That I Know You’ll Love“ . . Retrieved 30 September 2014 .
  29. Jump up^ „Competition: Beyond Skin’s Design Next Vegan Shoe!“ . PETA . Retrieved 30 September 2014 .
  30. Jump up^ Klein, Victoria. „Hetty Pink Ready-to-Wear Launches Versions of Its Vintage-Kimono Shoes“ . Playre . Retrieved 30 September 2014 .
  31. Jump up^ Nini, Jennifer. „Simple, Stylish & Sustainable: Eva Cassis“ . . Retrieved 16 Apr 2015 .
  32. Jump up^ Baker, Brandon. „Oliberté Becomes World’s First Fair Trade USA Certified Shoemaker“ . Eco Watch . Retrieved 12 September 2016 .
  33. Jump up^ Gelles, David (2016-06-16). „With Organic Cotton and Online Ads, Boll & Branch Helps Indian Farmers“ . The New York Times . ISSN  0362-4331 . Retrieved 2016-10-22 .
  34. Jump up^ Roberts, Zoe. „THTC – Inspiring change; one Hip-Hop head at a time“ . B-Boy News . Retrieved September 17, 2015 .
  35. Jump up^ Carlson, Jane (11 October 2013). „Annual red carpet green dress contest kicks off once again“ . The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  36. Jump up^ Dunn, Claire (8 April 2013). „Ethical fashion pops up for fashion week“. Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  37. Jump up^ Menkes, Suzy (13 September 2013). „Designing for the Green Carpet“. The New York Times . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  38. Jump up^ Carter, Amber (20 February 2013). „Event Review: Ecoluxe London A / W 2013“ . Ethical Fashion Forum . Archived from the original on 10 June 2014 . Retrieved 30 September 2014 .
  39. Jump up^
  40. Jump up^ „The year fashion woke up“ . . 19 December 2014. Archived from the original on 24 December 2014 . Retrieved 9 December 2015 .
  41. Jump up^ Groom, April. „Sustainable and Ethical Fashion“ . Financial Times How to Spend It .
  42. Jump up^ Menkes, Suzy. „The Beat of Africa Resounds on the Catwalk“ . Vogue – Conde Nast.
  43. Jump up^ Maveau, Roger. „Africa-Ethical Fashion: Simone Cipriani, the Good Samaritan“ . Africa Point.
  44. Jump up^ EsperanzaMarket. „5 Tips for Ethical Fashion Shopping“ . EsperanzaMarket . Retrieved 2016-01-27 .
  45. Jump up^ Smith, Ray A. (24 May 2008). „Shades of green: decoding eco fashion’s claims“ . The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 2016-04-25 .
  46. Jump up^ Niinimäki, Kirsi (2015-04-20). „Ethical foundations in sustainable fashion“ . Textiles and Clothing Sustainability . 1 : 3. doi : 10.1186 / s40689-015-0002-1 . ISSN  2197-9936 .
  47. Jump up^ „Copenhagen Fashion Summit“ . Copenhagen Fashion Summit. 2012-05-03 . Retrieved 2012-05-19 .
  48. Jump up^ Clark, Evan. „Sustainability Index Unveiled“, Women’s Wear Daily , July 25, 2012. Retrieved on December 20, 2012.
  49. Jump up^ Binkley, Christina. „Which Outfit Is Green“ A New Rating Tool „, Wall Street Journal , July 25, 2012. Retrieved on December 20, 2012.
  50. Jump up^ „AAFA, Sign MoU BAG“,Textile World Magazine, November / December 2012. Retrieved on 20 December 2012.
  51. Jump up^ Gunther, Marc. „Behind the Scenes at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition“,GreenBiz, 26 July 2012. Retrieved on 20 December 2012.
  52. Jump up^ „Current Members“, Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Retrieved on 20 December 2012.