Why Sustainable Fashion Matters
Being environmentally minded when it comes to fashion is important given the impact that the industry has on the planet - and a big part of being an eco-conscious shopper is knowing what true sustainability stands for.
As we have discussed many times here, fashion itself isn’t the issue - it’s the new model by which fashion is made and consumed these days. Currently, it takes two weeks for fast fashion houses to develop a full collection, sample, manufacture and distribute it into every store across the globe.
It all gets put into perspective when you come to know that it took a whole year for me to develop the first collection of GNGR Bees - which carries only seven pieces. So what do I mean when I say “understanding what sustainability stands for’’?
I know, the definition of the word has somehow become lost and that is because fast fashion houses are dying to jump on the trend and make you buy that label from them - but make no mistake, sustainability at its purest is a package no one can sell unless they have it in their core values.
To dive a little deeper, let’s take a cotton T-shirt. A sustainable model starts from thinking where the seed of the plant came from. Then it moves to the soil, the farmer, the workers, the machine, the production, the water, the waste, the manufacturer, distributer and anything and everything that comes in this chain and around it.
Are the workers being fairly paid, protected? Are they happy? Is the soil being kept well for the next plants? Are the plants using fertilisers? What is done with the water waste and so on? The process of how this T-shirt gets to its end destination and how the user may give it a life and then dispose of it are all also considered as opposed to a fast fashion model.
The fast fashion industry simply does not have the time to think about the seed, soil, workers and carbon footprint of its T-shirt because by the time they half consider any of this, a new collection has already launched and the price they budget to pay for this entire process is so small that moving any one or other side of the supply chain would be disastrous financially, so they simply don’t.
The stats of the global fashion industry - largely contributed by the fast pace everything gets manufactured at - are alarming: it uses 93 billion cubic metres of water in textile production annually, and its carbon emissions takes 26 per cent of the global carbon budget.
If that doesn’t scare you, £140 million worth of clothing goes to landfill every year, with a quarter of all industry resources wasted as fabric and garment leftovers.
This is where GNGR Bees comes in. You see, our aim was never to contribute to the fast fashion industry or to think where the seed initially comes from. Our aim was to clean the waste of all of these industries - fast and sustainable fashion, and beyond.
Saying everything we do starts from trash can often seem strange. Perhaps even a little unhygienic - but make no mistake, this is where our own version of sustainability comes in.
Getting materials made from raw resources just for us wouldn’t allow us to resolve an issue - no one needs leggings made out of bamboo, or corn mailing bags. It is just more waste and more footprint in our environment. It is just us putting a mask on the real problem of wanting to solve the world’s waste issue and looking for a better source but not taking the best one.
It takes me a long time to develop a collection because I must find each material I will work with individually and then ensure they are safe, made with good quality to last you well and that every part of my supply chain considers the individual components that are part of it - my workers, waste, pollution and so on.
Sustainability for me at GNGR Bees is at the core of what I do and I don’t tend to talk about it because, personally, to me there is no other way to make fashion (or any other thing, really).
On that note, as the new collection launch approaches, I would like to reinstate that I will only start new product lines if I find a material that has been discarded by another industry (I know, you are dying to get your hands on some T-shirts and I am working on it, I promise!) because making anything else out of something that takes nature from our planet given we already have so many already-made resources sounds completely unnecessary to me.
And then on another front, I shall leave you with my real thoughts on buying anything ever - which is always what I say out loud whenever I get the incredible opportunity of meeting any of you, my incredibly supportive clients: in sustainability, the first choice is wear what you already have, the second is to shop vintage/second hand and the third, if you really must, is to buy GNGR Bees.
See what eco friendly sportswear we have in stock on our website.