5 Reasons Why Sustainable Fashion Matters Right Now

by Olivia Jane Riley

"Post Covid-19 ,we are starting to think about what a ‘new normal’ will look like. The economic crisis will hit small businesses the hardest."
Photo: Olivia Riley (@ojrfashion)

What is sustainable fashion?


Sustainable - or slow - fashion is a blanket term that refers to clothing made from fabrics that don’t harm the earth, made by people paid a fair wage, and where the environmental impact of the clothing has been considered. It is the opposite to fast fashion which has become the norm in our consumerist, western society.


The plastic fibres, harmful chemicals that infect our water systems, and copious amounts of fossil fuels used in mass production makes fast fashion the second most polluting industry in the world.


Here are my top 5 reasons for shopping sustainably, not only for fashion but in every purchase you make.


Top Independent Fashion Companies:

Sancho’s

Elvis & Kresse

You Swim

KKG Goods


1. You know where your money is going


When you support an independent or small company, you are directly supporting the people who work there, and the local economy where you live. Buying from an international chain, the profits will most likely end up in the pockets of the billionaires who own it.


2. You are supporting fair wages


Smaller, independent companies tend to treat their staff like real people instead of cattle that can be replaced, and often prioritise living wages and a work/life balance. Do your research and see if they have the ‘living wage payer’ stamp on their website.


Top Independent Shoe Companies:

Allbirds

Veja

Po-zu


3. You get unique, well-made pieces


Independent and sustainable companies value well-made pieces that will last. They want their customers to return again and again, and build a trusting relationship with them. Large corporations don’t care if your items break within 2 weeks, because enough people buy their cheap items for them to make a large profit.


Top Independent Cleaning and misc:

Neat cleaning products

Who gives a crap

Nutley’s Kitchen Gardens

Your local zero waste store, mine is Earth Food Love, find your nearest one here


4. It’s an investment, not a guilty purchase


With every purchase, we tend to categorise them into 'necessity', a 'splurge’, or ‘guilty’ item. When you buy from an independent company you know that your money is going towards supporting a sustainable future, and the item you keep will last you years and bring a smile to your face every time you see it. Ditch the guilt and invest in pieces you will cherish.


5. Think about what you want the future to look like


Post Covid-19 ,we are starting to think about what a ‘new normal’ will look like. We know that at large corporations, billionaires won't take the economic hit; their workers will. The economic crisis will hit small businesses the hardest. Small businesses build character and charm within our towns and cities and we would truly miss them if they were to disappear. I urge us all to think about what we want the future to look like, and know that our spending habits can often have more of an impact than our political vote. Invest in better, and support sustainable and independent where you can.


Privilege


When we talk about sustainability we also have to talk about privilege. Supporting small and independent often comes with a higher price tag because the supply chain that made your items are paid a fair wage. It costs more to do things right. For a lot of people, this means that living more consciously is not possible. Some companies seem more expensive but work out cheaper in the long run because of the quality and longevity of the items.


But supporting them doesn’t have to cost a thing! You can follow them on social media, like and comment on their posts, refer them to a friend, sign up to their newsletter or buy a gift card for a future purchase. These are all things that would help independent and sustainable companies tremendously right now. Buy less, buy better and support them where you can.

Olivia Jane Riley blogs about sustainable fashion on Instagram @ojrfashion. After completing her Fashion Design degree at Birmingham City University, she moved back to her home town of Totnes and now works for sustainable Fashion Company Sancho’s as the Communications Co-ordinator. Having interned in the fashion industry at the likes of Victoria Beckham, Peter Jensen, White stuff, Suzanah boutique and Lowie, Olivia has gained experience of the fashion industry and how it can progress to a safer and fairer world for everyone.


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The Radical Art Review is a non-profit cooperative platform fuelled purely by people power for those who think art holds the potential for social transformation. We publish the thoughts, philosophies, and stories of all who dare to dissent. We seek to inform, to empower, and to dream collectively of a better tomorrow.

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