The Four Pillars of Sustainable Fashion

 

Sustainable fashion is embodied by four pillars that address the impacts fashion has environmentally, economically, socially and emotionally upon our world. Below these four pillars are outlined in terms of large and small scale applications.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PILLAR

LARGE SCALE: The industry's responsibility to conserve natural resources at every point in the supply chain, while the government enforces regulations to ensure the preservation of finite resources and limit pollution.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Industries shouldn't let the byproduct of their production, nor the product itself, affect the environment, and government needs to regulate their actions.

 

SMALL SCALE: Refers to the consumer's responsibility to be conscious of and respect the environment through the informed consumption, use and disposal of goods.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Each American throws away 68 pounds of textile waste per year (the average weight of a 10 year old child)

 

ECONOMIC PILLAR

LARGE SCALE: Refers to the industry's ability to engage in the production and trade of goods through the conservation and development of natural resources and human capital, creating a system that encourages long-term economic stability, all while domestic and international regulations/standards are established and maintained by governments.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Conducting research and development to create a healthy economy that focuses on the long term, not just quarterly profits (short-term pain long-term gain - invest in the future!)

 

SMALL SCALE: Consumer's obligation to purchase responsibly and efficiently in terms of one's personal budget, seeking alternatives to fast fashion and/or over-spending by supporting local or secondary markets, re-purposing items, or refraining from spending.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Don't support fast fashion because it doesn't support your wallet.

 

SOCIAL PILLAR

LARGE SCALE: The industry and government's overall accountability in protecting and guaranteeing basic human, labor, and compensation rights to all workers, throughout each level of the supply chain, demonstrated through regulations and standards.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Paying employees fair and living wages, and taking responsibility for their safety.

 

SMALL SCALE: Reflects the consumer's responsibility to actively observe and pursue knowledge regarding the items one plans to purchase, with the intention to protect the rights and wellbeing of the labor behind the label.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: If you cannot locate the country found on the country of origin label or let alone pronounce it, consider what else you don't know about the person who made your clothes.

 

EMOTIONAL PILLAR

LARGE SCALE: The industry's influence on consumer purchasing habits through the use of marketing, branding and promotion, in order to cultivate perceptions of status, quality, price, and style in association with products, all while the government regulates false advertising.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: The industry's ability to dictate what we purchase by playing to our insecurities.

 

SMALL SCALE: The relationships and mutuality of respect between consumers and their goods, fostered through the understanding that goods serve the personal identities of consumers; the lifespan of goods is dependent on consumer's actions, emotions and purchasing power.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Fashion is our chosen skin, i.e. an extension of our identity, and it should make us feel happy and secure in who we are.