Having written a lot of blogs, posts and such about why sustainable fashion is important and how “slow fashion” needs to be the way forward. It struck me that I have never explain how sustainable clothing actually works and how it is different to regular clothing. The answer might actually surprise you.
Let’s start by differentiating a few things. In the world of fashion, you have sustainable fashion brands like Dzihic and “regular” brands. Unsurprising those that identify as sustainable fashion brands specialise in eco-friendly clothing and just general eco-clothing. Those that could be termed “regular” are brands that focus on fast fashion. I.E brands that sell clothes but do not take into consideration sustainability. Or at least don’t take it into consideration enough for their clothes to be consider sustainable clothing.
So now that we understand the difference between sustainable fashion brands and those which aren’t we can focus on what actually makes a brand sustainable. Let’s take Dzihic since we all love that brand, right?... Maybe not…
So Dzihic offers both men’s sustainable clothing and Sustainable women's clothes. By this we mean our brand offers ethical clothing and eco-friendly clothing. Why is it ethical? Usually eco-clothing, or sustainable clothing (we can use these interchangeably), is made in a ethical way. I.E workers are paid a decent wage and the conditions they work in can’t be compared to slavery. Now this isn’t to say all sustainable fashion brands are like this. But Dzihic is, this is because our clothes are manufactured with UK organic clothing, I.E manufactured in the UK where we have robust labour laws.
But now we look at what makes us sustainable. What makes us unique is that we use only sustainable, natural materials. For example, both our men’s sustainable clothing and women’s sustainable clothing ranges use cotton a lot. Why? For two main reasons. 1) cotton is natural and organic. So it occurs naturally within the world without a need to manufacture using chemicals, like polyester. 2) The decomposition of cotton is a lot quick than plastic based materials like polyester. A key fact which Dzihic shouts about is that polyester can take up to 200 years to decompose while cotton takes up to a year and averages around 5-6 months for full decomposition. By using natural materials our clothes can be made sustainable because once their use is up. They don’t linger on the planet like plastic based clothes.
Another thing that makes a company sustainable is their use of recycled material. Although we here at Dzihic despise polyester and other plastic based materials in clothing. Ultimately, it does have its purpose. Because of this we use recycled polyester, which is not UK organic clothing, but a close next. Companies which try to minimise their use “new” materials and use recycled materials, consistently across their lines, are also considered sustainable.
Ultimately sustainable clothing is the use of natural sustainable material or the use of recycled materials and minimising the use of “new” materials. For us in this part of the fashion industry, this is important. Let’s keep in mind that although many eco-friendly clothing companies and generally eco-clothing companies are ethical clothing companies. A lot of ethical clothing companies aren’t sustainable. Most still subscribe to fast fashion but the extra premium is due to the cost associated with paying workers a good living.So, that is it. A quick introduction to the sustainable clothing fashion world. The manufacturing process of the clothes is pretty similar regardless of slow or fast fashion, the main differentiator is what the clothes are made from. Now going back to the first paragraph where we stated the answer might surprise you. I can imagine, it did not, but would you have read everything is we said that first!