Writing by Wen H., Photo by Pawel Czerwinski | Wen H.
DECEMBER 26, 2021
How can sustainable fashion work sustainably? Will sustainable fashion become just a selling point? H&M is creating easy-to-wear different looks with recycling materials. Selfridges is developing a rental marketplace.
Time to show off your unique sense of restyling instead of being vain of your spoils of shopping.
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is the most highlighted climate change assessment after the meeting of the Paris Agreement in 2015, with an aim to limit the earth’s rising temperature threshold of 1.5 degrees. At present, the climate goals and actions of the governments are still far from enough to control global warming temperatures below 1.5 degrees. The world leaders are responsible for carrying out the historic responsibility of setting the world and also specifying how much and when the greenhouse-gas emissions will be reduced by the COP27 Climate Change Conference in 2022. To practice this main target, UK COP26 suggests countries will need to: 
- Accelerate the phase-out of coal
- Curtail deforestation
- Speed up the switch to electric vehicles
- Encourage investment in renewables
Following the suggestion of investing in recycled materials, a big fast fashion company; H&M, launched a collection completely focused on circularity, a brilliant achievement with many pieces that included both eco-friendly materials and clothes versatility. The former was made of grape skin (Vegea™), recycled old garments (Cycora®) and dissolvable sewing thread (Resortecs®), and the latter used straps and zips that can alter the fit and the shape of shirts, coats and trousers, delivering the sense of tailored garment into the collection. However, to concern about the silhouette of the joyful garments might not fit the Covid circumstances in the UK, especially as most Christmas parties will, unfortunately, be cancelled this year due to Covid restrictions. This might cause a wave of waste to rise, turning this great sense of sustainability into a pointless solution.
Another highlighted achievement is seen in Selfridges, as they established their very own rental business, aiming to reduce garment waste and sustainable wearing. Following market research, a high number of customers have shown interest in having a try at the rental market, specifically for the use of special occasion garments, with larger percentages of interviewees being females. By contrast, some concerns arose regarding garment hygiene, how to swap outfits if they do not fit, as well as doubts of further bad influences coming up, such as materialistic values and shallow criteria. However, the fashion rental business is fresh in the UK, so it would be nice to try to experience it. More importantly, in order to solve the public’s concerns, all rental business companies must deal with the underlying issue. While promoting the rental business is a way to explore new ways to shop and help do our bit for the planet, it also promotes the values of sustainable fashion, not just a way of showing off luxury goods.
Will sustainable fashion turn into just a selling point?
It might happen one day. Yet, to avoid this from happening, it is our duty as shoppers to have a crystal clear mindset of understanding on the importance of sustainability and prevent our mother earth from turning into an ugly planet with mass waste. This is a simple mindset to minimise the current climate crisis.
- Have an understanding of how raw materials are produced, asking for transparency in the production process and information that can force brands to produce and create their products in sustainable approaches.
- Smart consumption: buying what you really need, not buying what you desire. It is a crucial and effective movement to stop overproduction and force overconsumption to stop. However, you still can indulge yourself occasionally, but you must do so by providing love and care for the items you purchased and giving them a longer lifespan.
- Restyling. We can have fresh new changes by leveraging accessories and dressing our outfits in an avant-garde way, not such a big challenge. Restyling is currently trendy for the younger generations, as it is commonly boring to have only one style per look. This educates and empowers us to have multiple dimensions to think about our garments. Time to show off your keen and unique sense of restyling instead of being vain of your spoils of shopping.
Finally, from the brilliant mind of Robert Swan – “The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It.” Let’s start to be sustainable shoppers, we are “the someone else”, thus sustainable fashion would not be just a selling point, it is also our honour and common sense.
1. UK COP26. What is a COP? [Internet]. 2021. Available from: https://ukcop26.org/uk-presidency/what-is-a-cop/
2.UNFCCC.COP26 Reaches Consensus on Key Actions to Address Climate Change [Internet]. 2021. Available from: https://unfccc.int/news/cop26-reaches-consensus-on-key-actions-to-address-climate-change
3. Remake. 2021 Remake Fashion Accountability Report [Internet]. 2021. Available from: https://remake.world/2021-remake-fashion-accountability-report/
4. Stevenson A. Robert Swan OBE: “The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It” [Internet]. 2012. Available from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/robert-swan-antarctica_b_1315047