The green movement is booming all around the world, especially in the apparel and textile industry. Conscious consumers are asking for more environmentally friendly and socially responsible products, including beautiful, functional, and sustainable clothing.
Green fashion is similar to sustainable, slow, and eco-friendly fashion. It's part of the global sustainable fashion movement that aims to decrease the social and environmental impact of apparel production and consumption.
The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters globally. It contributes massively to climate change, waste accumulation, pollution of the air, land, and oceans.
The rise of fast fashion over the last 20 years made clothing disposable. It caused a huge global environmental crisis due to the overproduction and overconsumption of cheaply made clothing.
Green fashion is gaining popularity within the apparel and textile industry for good reasons. It promotes a more mindful way of producing and consuming clothes and accessories to protect the environment, human, and animal lives.
Before 2015, I wasn't aware of the destructive practices applied daily in the fashion industry. I used to shop for fast fashion very often and change my outfit many times every day.
Then I started to care more about #WhoMadeMyClothes. I was shocked as I learned more about it. I am now a sustainable fashion advocate.
Green fashion is necessary to help diminish the disastrous impact of clothing purchases on the planet, people, and animals living on it. The unsustainable exploitation of water, energy, and natural resources along with the use of hazardous chemicals has to stop.
As consumers, we can drive change in the fashion industry by raising awareness of these issues and making more responsible purchases decisions.
Eco-friendly clothing is important for our health, just like the products we put on our skins, and the food we eat. It's also crucial to farmers' and workers' health in the clothing industry.
Green fashion expresses concerns not only for the materials used in apparel and textiles production but also for sustainability across the entire supply chain and lifecycle of fashion products.
Here is what green fashion is and why it matters.
The definition of green fashion
If you are new to green fashion, you might feel overwhelmed with so many different terms to distinguish, such as slow, sustainable, eco-friendly, conscious, responsible, fair, and ethical fashion.
Just like sustainable, slow, and eco-friendly fashion, the environmental footprint of our wardrobe is the priority of the green fashion movement.
Ethical fashion, on the other hand, promotes a more socially responsible approach to fashion. Being ethical means "avoiding activities or organizations that harm people or the environment", according to the Oxford English dictionary.
To learn more about ethical fashion, check out my answers to ethical fashion frequently asked questions.
The low wages, abuse, unsafe work conditions, modern slavery, child labor, and animal cruelty present in the apparel industry are some of the issues that ethical fashion is working to solve.
It's hard to believe that today still, many fashion brands keep using sweatshop labor to produce their new collections, in East Asian developing countries and developed western countries.
Read up my article on fashion brands that still use sweatshops to get more information on the inhumane manufacturing methods used to make cheap and disposable clothing.
Green fashion is considered different from ethical and conscious fashion as it focuses more on the environmental problems occurring in the apparel industry.
The overproduction and overconsumption of cheap and disposable clothing have a huge environmental cost. Textile and garment manufacturing involves the use of poisonous chemicals such as toxic dyes, fertilizers, and pesticides.
When released untreated into the nearby environment, they pollute the air, soil, drinking water, and aquatic environments. They endanger ecosystems, land wildlife, and marine life.
The Oxford English dictionary defines being green as "concerned with or supporting the protection of the environment as a political principle".
Green fashion strives to decrease the catastrophic environmental impact of the clothing industry. It demands that everybody takes more responsibility for their actions, including the general public, governments, organizations, and businesses.
It encourages the use of sustainable materials made from renewable resources, green energy, carbon-neutral shipping, eco-friendly packaging, and better waste management.
Read up my article on the top 10 eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics to learn more about environmentally friendly materials for fashion.
We are on the brink of a global environmental crisis. It's now more important than ever to adopt a more environmentally friendly way of sourcing materials, designing, and producing clothing.
Earth's natural resources aren't infinite. A circular economy is now necessary to leave the linear concept of take-make-waste for more regenerative and inclusive fashion systems.
Why is green fashion important?
Green fashion is crucial to reduce textile wastes ending up in landfills, greenhouse gas emissions, toxic chemical usage, water, and energy consumption. Overall, It's critical to lower the fashion industry's impact on the environment.
The way the fashion industry operates today isn't sustainable. Climate change is occurring at a catastrophic rate. Green fashion is part of the solution by changing supply chains, business models, and behaviors.
It's necessary to offer alternatives to fast fashion and its disastrous consequences. The consumption and production of stylish yet affordable clothing don't have to be damaging to the environment.
Prioritizing profits over the well-being of people, animals, and the planet isn't the way to go. It matters a lot for the future of fashion.
The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter worldwide. It's responsible for deforestation, destruction of ecosystems, and extinction of endangered species.
It accounts for more than 8% of all carbon emissions globally each year, with more than 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere in 2017.
More than 80% of all clothing produced end up in landfills to decompose or be incinerated. 16.9 million tons of used textile wastes are generated every year in the United States.
The fashion industry produces 20% of the world's wastewater during textile manufacturing processes such as washing, bleaching, dyeing, and treatments.
Big players in the fashion industry need to give the environment more attention, prioritize actions toward a greener fashion future, and take massive action to reduce carbon emissions, pollution, and waste.
As consumers, we can help the planet by buying fewer clothes and higher quality. It's a great way to be greener with clothes. We must transform the wasteful fashion industry into a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible fashion world.
What do you think about green fashion? Does it make a significant difference? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.