Sustainable Fashion: What is it? And Are We Ready for It?
You’re walking in a mall and you spot this amazing outfit and it’s on sale! chances are you’re going to waltz right in and buy it. That’s cool but here’s a fun fact: did you know that there is a high chance that outfit is part of the Fast-Fashion trend and has probably contributed to some sort of economic or environmental damage? Hopefully that caught your attention. Now, slowly back away from that top and read on.
What is fast-fashion, you ask? Well, long story short, it’s the making of clothing or apparels in high speed and in low quality that it takes up so much resources and space. Now, imagine if you will, every single piece of apparel you have every owned being in your own home. Not so ideal, is it? Now imagine that stuff everywhere. And it’s not just you, it’s millions of other people stuck in this cycle of buying and throwing clothing that has now developed into a bio-hazard. Fret not, my fellow consumerists! There is a way to fix that habit and work towards a more conscious lifestyle. Which is why we called in reinforcements, Ms. Sasibai Kimis, the founder of Earth Heir, a sustainable fashion brand that not only focuses on fair labour but also about using materials that are environmentally friendly and also, Ms. Dianna Yong, the Creative Director of Sayang Clothing PLT. Sayang Clothing PLT is a sustainable fashion brand that had made it their mission to slow down fashion by focusing on creating clothing that is economically and environmentally safe. So, it’s safe to say that we’re in good hands.
Sasibai notes that fast fashion is gaining traction and while sustainable fashion is coming up, it isn’t where it should be. When asked by customers “Why do you care about the artisans?” she goes on to explain that artisans or makers of your products may sometimes work under harsh labor conditions. Which is why we should always ask questions and hold the companies and brands accountable for their actions. This definitely rings trues as we often forget that we, as the consumers, hold a lot of power in our hands. She advises that we always ask questions before purchasing an item. Do you really need it? Are they ethically made? What kind of fabric is used and what conditions did the workers work in to make the product?“If people really saw blood on the clothes would they buy it? If you saw how people are suffering, would you buy it?”
Dianna also mentions about how her brand focuses on slowing down fashion. Sayang Clothing only takes resources from natural fibres and even uses soy ink instead as its bio-degradable while taking into consideration of how other parts of the product like its packaging could also affect the environment. Like how all life comes to an end, so should a product. She hopes that more consumers consider the shelf life of what they buy “Working with polyester or plastics simply means products will end up in landfills for longer periods of time” Dianna also has a similar notion that while sustainable fashion may be coming up, it’s hard to get everyone on board with the idea. Especially the whole ‘If it’s made in Malaysia, it isn’t good quality’ mindset. Buying items made locally not only supports the local artists but also ensures that these items are not mass produced and will not go to waste. Now, let’s take a couple of steps back and look at a wider perspective. Trying to be fully sustainable in Malaysia may be a bit hard as we don’t have as many brands or even celebrities endorsing such as cause. However, what we could do is to always be aware of what is happening behind the scenes especially at stores that mass produce their apparels. Perhaps you could even check out the brands mentioned in this article to help you be on your way to a more sustainable fashion lifestyle!