5 ways the fashion industry can be more sustainable

5 ways the fashion industry can be more sustainable

How can the fashion and textiles industry become more sustainable in the future?

BA (Hons) Fashion student Elisabeth Kiko specialises in sustainable conceptualised menswear design. Here are Elisabeth’s 5 tips on how fashion can make design and consumerism more environmentally friendly.

The fashion industry is with no doubt, known for its huge increasing waste of textiles and the constant growth of consumption, but the future is not all this dark.

As a part of the new generation and for the future of fashion we have to be able to work in the industry in a revised and more sustainable way to not lose the passion and love of fashion itself.

1. Invest in garments and clothing that will last

The first and probably most obvious change starts with us as the consumer. The fashion industry is built and is driven from the needs and response of the audience. As an example, monthly trends come and go at such a fast pace that no customer would really want to spend a reasonable price on quality.

Real original personal style is the answer: creating your very own personal style means you can be browsing and shopping at your own pace.

This in turn makes the purchases more conscious and will reduce consumption, which the brands will recognise and produce less. Invest in garments and in a quality that will last. It pays to invest, be able to enjoy the piece for a lifetime.

2. Produce less

The fashion industry produces too much, which then cannot be sold, it seems like an easy problem to fix. Although huge brands are built on profit and therefore the production cost is so low that profit is made with any purchased item, big high street brands especially.

Change will need to start from the top, the big fashion houses and designers must cut down their collections so this reduction will be echoed on the high-street. The high street will not be imitating as many trends which means less clothing will be produced. But also production should be moved to where the customers and and audience lives. Save on the shipping and enhance quality of working.

3. Re-use materials, off-cuts and fabrics

As a designer: stop using virgin resources. The fashion industry is an amazing way for creatives to communicate. With every new collection a designer can offer you a new dream, desired aesthetic and a fresh personality.

But with time garments and styles come back or are only inspired by fashion we have seen before. This is when we need to revise completely.

With reusing, deconstructing and recycling second hand materials, as anything like offcuts and remnants of other fashion houses or firms.

Repurposing old archived stock of material as well as a focus on experimentation with unconventional materials will create something new. Using materials in this way requires even more innovative design skill and technical knowledge, challenging designers to use this material approach to create refined and timeless pieces.

"With reusing, deconstructing and recycling second hand materials, as anything like offcuts and remnants of other fashion houses or firms."

Elisabeth Kiko, BA (Hons) Fashion

4. Go vintage

As a consumer and a follower of fashion you should know that there are still possibilities to go shopping and treat yourself or your loved ones to new pieces of clothing in a sustainable way.

Go vintage! This is the easiest and most effective way to make the fashion industry more sustainable. Soon will you realise that a wide selection of high-end, quality fashion vintage pieces can still be found due to the great manufacture besides being timeless, still in trend and affordable, it ticks all the boxes.

5. Know your facts

The fifth way to make this fashion industry more sustainable is to know your facts. By knowing those big and shocking numbers it is easier to convince yourself to be a part of the change for a more sustainable future in fashion.

Understanding sustainable fashion also gives you the chance to spread this word, increase the awareness and stop greenwashing, which disables an efficient growth of solutions and a presentation of results. It is a threat to the fashion system.

In numbers

150,000,000,000: The number of new clothing items produced each year.

2,500,000,000: Pounds of used clothing that end up in landfills each year.

are some of those numbers stated by British Vogue. Make those zeros count.

BA Fashion student Eli Kiko sat in front of a draped mannequin at Norwich University of the Arts

Elisabeth Kiko

"As a part of the new generation of fashion designers we have to be able to work in the industry in a revised and more sustainable way to not lose the passion and love of fashion itself."