Sustainability: Fashions’s Future Standard Benchmark?

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The fashion industry has been striving for innovation and improvement since its inception. However, issues such as global warming, environmental pollution, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, and other planet-related problems have led to a rise in sustainability in all industries, including fashion.

In the 2020s, consumers demand transparency from brands. More and more people are changing the way they consume fashion for the better. They are giving up fast fashion, purchasing more second-hand or vintage items, or buying from sustainable brands. Even high street and luxury brands are releasing "eco" collections and other sustainable initiatives, which is a significant advancement from the early days of fashion sustainability.

The popular 'hippie movement' of the 1960s introduced alternative lifestyles and a state of mind that was previously unknown en masse. Sustainable fashion stands among them, fueled by the book 'Silent Spring,' an environmental science book by American marine biologist and writer Rachel Carson, and other grassroots organizations that implemented these radical ideas religiously.

“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.” – Ursula Le Guin, American Author.

The popularity of vintage and second-hand shopping and upcycling styles increased in the 80s as a form of rebellion against capitalism and conformity. Ethical fashion emerged and gained momentum with the anti-fur movement, which became part of popular culture with celebrities joining in.

Sustainability in the fashion industry has only grown in recent years, with the implementation of technology in shoes and dresses. For instance, NIKE’s Air Mag and HyperAdapt 1.0 feature self-lacing and extensive comfort features. Smart running shoes can analyze the wearer’s running style, measure strain, impact, and balance, and make suggestions to support their personal training goals. Smart clothing technology can monitor the wearer’s physical condition, with smart shirts and body suits providing biometric data.

Sustainability is bringing positive changes in an industry that has always been criticized for its negative environmental impact. Fashion is inspiring consumers to focus on eco-friendly choices with an emphasis on quality over quantity, ethical production practices, and mindful consumption.