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Slow Fashion, sustainable fashion

We are what we do, what we eat and the decisions we make, but we are also what we wear. Efficient fashion is on-trend, so if you're choosing sustainability and efficiency, choose Slow Fashion. 

According to the UN, textile production is to blame for 20% of waste water worldwide and 10% of global carbon emissions. Also, in the last 15 years, the production of clothing around the world has doubled, while its use has decreased by half.

In Spain, an average of 450 euros per year is spent on clothing per person, generating between 12 and 14 kilos of textile waste. However, only 20% of textiles there are recycled.

We're facing new challenges: much of the clothing is manufactured using a mixture of natural and synthetic fibres, which must be separated if they are to be reused. When washed, polyester also gives off small fibres that end up in the sea, polluting the oceans and the creatures that live in them. To this must be added the polluting potential of the polyester manufacturing process, which emits three times as much carbon as other materials, such as cotton.

The dyes used to colour fabrics are also polluting, but there are some sustainable alternatives.

Taking into account all these variables, the world of fashion is beginning to be aware of the situation and to take measures with regards sustainability and social impact. The role of the younger generations must not be overlooked: they are growing up and starting out on their lives, they have an environmental challenge ahead of them that will mark a watershed in the history of our planet. Fortunately, we may have a little more awareness about the waste we produce, even when in the way we dress.

This gave rise to the concept of Slow Fashion, as opposed to the Fast Fashion of the industrialised, disposable fashion that we have been experiencing in recent decades. The characteristics of this movement, which has already been embraced by designers and major brands around the world, include the following:

 

Traceability

New technologies such as Blockchain are facilitating the traceability of raw materials, how they are obtained and the manufacture of garments, providing information to the client and giving them the option of choosing between sustainable and ethical garments versus those that are not.

 

Circularity

Around the world, 500,000 million euros worth of clothes are thrown away every year. Can you imagine that? Only 1% gets recycled, with the consequent damage to the environment and the waste of materials.

For this reason, many brands now collect garments in their establishments, which are destined for reuse, recycling or energy recovery. The last method, energy recovery, consists of converting waste that cannot be recycled into energy. It can be transformed into electricity, steam or hot water for domestic or industrial use.

Recycling

From making a bag for yourself out of some old jeans to donating your clothes at established points, clothing has a second chance. Fashion franchises now offer garment collection bins for recycling. There are also companies where you can donate the clothes that you do not use and they will be sold to raise money for a charity. NGOs and governments have also provided containers where you can deposit garments that you no longer want so they can be delivered to those who need them most. There are many options for you to extend the life of your clothes and minimise waste.

In terms of the manufacturers, several brands, some of them Spanish, are already making their garments out of recycled materials. Even other waste (such as marine or organic waste) is being recycled to create new garments. As you can see, the possibilities are limitless.

 

Zero Kilometre

This is another trend that reduces the carbon footprint of products, especially in terms of transport. Some manufacturers are opting to make their garments with local products and in nearby factories that offer employment to residents in that area. In this context, traceability plays an important role in identifying this type of clothing.

 

R&D

Innovation in the fashion sector, through technologies such as 3D printing or industrial embroidery machines, is opening up a world of possibilities. As a result, it is possible to start using new raw materials, simplify processes (that now have a lower environmental impact and are more efficient) and encourage other options such as Zero Kilometre production.

All these trends combine in the Slow Fashion phenomenon. Are we dressed to save the planet?

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