What’s the story with sustainability?
Avoid the hype and make informed decisions
I am sure most of you have noticed the latest buzzword in the apparel industry, “SUSTAINABILITY”.
But how many of you know what this term means, and what it means to the apparel industry, in particular?
A good starting would be a definition. According to Dictionary.com, Sustainability, is defined as,
The ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.
Environmental Science. The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
We would be interested in number 2. The environmental aspect. However, this is not as simple as it sounds, as the usage of the word, sustainable in the apparel industry, also usually incorporates ethics, fair trade, and organic cotton/farming and processing. These are often used on their own, or together, or two out of three (take your pick), when talking about sustainability in apparel.
So, does sustainability require all three? Well, the first thing to do would look at each individually and then decide. Personally, I think all three components are required, and admittedly I do not usually follow this construct.
Why? In my opinion the whole sustainability issue is full of half-truths, outright lies, and misrepresentation.
The majority of companies out there use it on clueless consumers, in order to justify higher prices.
Think of what your neighborhood hipster would pay for his organic cotton, fair trade, and environmentally friendly, ecologically widgetable pair of denims that benefits the lives of a declining tribe living in the foothills of the Andes?
And then there are the few apparel companies that actually take this extremely seriously. I honestly say, good for them.
Let’s look at the components of sustainability, and hopefully you will be better informed.
Ethics is define by Dictionary.com as
(Used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles:
The ethics of a culture.
(Used with a plu