A Call for conscious consumerism & Better design ft. Reformation
By Julia Le
We’ve made it to the end of summer, the only season that allows time to stand still. It’s a reminder of times fleeting, filled with adventures with friends, and evenings you only wish would linger on forever. We hold on to these moments and times, hoping they will last just a bit longer. But we all know that it’s the excitement of ephemerality that motivates us to cherish the sweetness of life as it happens.
Like summer, the topic of sustainability in fashion is another one of such oppositions: it implies some essence of tangibility and consciousness of consumption, while touting the claim that “less” is more.
Enter this curiosity, and we as consumers, are pushed to really think, how much waste is being produced for a single garment? Think about the all fabric and dyes used in the fashion industry (92 tons of waste in 2015 alone), the water consumption (79 billion cubic meters, or about 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools), CO2 emissions (1,715 million tons), and the cost of fair wages to those who are in the factories—all the things that go beyond the idyllic, iconic trash jar in the name of “zero waste”.
Finally, we ask, how can we do better? In the holy trifecta of the three R’s, reusing and recycling can be captivated by thrifting, vintage shopping and swapping as the best solutions. Still, even those only account for 20% of clothing collected (the rest end up in the landfill). But when it comes to reducing, beyond producing less, are there changes that can be made in the most fundamental ways of how the fashion/ textile industry is run? What can be considered in terms of design of the entire supply chain?
The truth of the matter is, when most of us are shopping, we don’t feel like crunching the numbers.
Especially when it comes to clothing purchases, we are seeking designs and aesthetics that suit our needs, with the responsibility of the numbers and logistics in full trust of company that creates. We don’t want to think of the consequences of each purchase. Isn’t it hard enough trying to find that perfect dress? It’s exhausting.
But when we think about our values, it becomes a bit easier.
Personally, I want to support—and purchase—from brands that provide us with clothes that, yes, flatter our curves and make us feel empowered, but are also well thought out: designed beyond the physical end piece. With each dollar I spend, I want the promise and action of social responsibility, waste reduction, and positive impact on every touch point throughout the supply chain—not just at the level of marketing campaigns.
I want efforts towards circularity and sustainability on all fronts, and not just one.
I want to support the research and development of eco fabrics, investment back into communities, confidence in the welfare of employees, and continuous efforts and reporting towards zero waste—100% traceability.
I want all the numbers and details fully disclosed, so I know where my money goes.
That’s what’s behind the pretty blue floral dress you’ve been looking at: 7.0 lbs. of carbon dioxide savings, 1.0 gal. of water savings, 0.6 lbs. of waste savings, and measurable change towards something better.
That’s what was bought.
And the best part is? I didn’t even have to really think about it.