What the Fashion World is Doing for Sustainability

In America, around 85% of textile waste is sent straight to the landfill to slowly, slowly decompose. This is problematic for many reasons: the clothes release methane into the atmosphere; their poisonous dyes contaminate the soil and groundwater; they put a heavy strain on available landfill space; and synthetic fibers won’t biodegrade for hundreds of years, just to name a few.

Here are a few ways that the fashion industry and other organizations are thinking about textile waste:

COMMUNITIES

The Council for Textile Recycling is a leading nonprofit advocate for textile recycling in the United States. Their goal is for the US to produce zero textile waste by 2037 (a tall order, considering we currently waste upwards of 70 pounds of textiles per person, per year). The Council’s network of brands, retailers, cities, and individuals work together to increase visibility for the issue and implement solutions that will make zero waste possible.

ZERO WASTE

It’s a catchy term, but what does zero waste mean in practice? The idea is simple – no more textiles in landfills – but actually meeting that goal is pretty complex. One approach that’s on the rise is zero-waste design. This technique involves making clothing patterns and using cutting methods that minimize how much excess fabric is wasted after the clothes are cut out. In addition, any leftover scraps get turned into headbands or other accessories. The result is a style that’s both creative and eco-friendly.

Piece by zero-waste designer Charlotte Bialas.
Source: charlottebialas.com
Piece by zero-waste designer Charlotte Bialas. Source: charlottebialas.com

RECYCLING TRENDS

Many brands are implementing new ways to think smarter about sustainability. Forward-thinking apparel companies like The Renewal Workshop are starting to refurbish used clothes for resale. Items that can’t be “renewed” are then “upcycled,” which means repurposing the material into a new product – for example, a pair of old jeans could become a jacket. In fact, upcycling is becoming more and more popular among designers as a way to appeal to the new wave of environmentally conscious buyers.

Source: renewalworkshop.com
Source: renewalworkshop.com

CLOTHING RENTAL

A big part of the textile waste problem is something many of us are guilty of: people are buying more and more clothes and wearing them for shorter and shorter periods of time. How many times have you bought a cute new top only to wear it two or three times before it ends up lost in the back of your closet? To avoid this while staying fashionable, an option that’s on the rise is to rent clothes instead of purchasing them. As a result, clothing rental services and subscription boxes are growing faster than ever.

With sustainability becoming a larger and larger issue internationally, there’s a growing movement of awareness and responsibility for the way we consume clothing. This is why BellaNove is proud that our rental model makes sense not only for your pregnancy needs, but also for the planet.