Earth Day and Sustainable Fashion: A Call to Action with Vustra

Earth Day is just around the corner, so let’s look at what it truly stands for. This special day was started on April 22, 1970 – and some might even say it marked the dawn of the modern eco-conscious era, sparking widespread conversations and actions toward living more sustainably. Fast forward to today, and its commemorated by governments, civil rights bodies, NGOs and individual citizens across the different continents to remind us of our shared responsibility to Mother Earth.

And it’s even more relevant now that it was back then, especially when you look at the fashion world. This industry alone churns out 100 billion garments a year, and 87% of them end up in landfills or incinerators. That's a massive 40 million tons of fabric contributing to waste and pollution. Let’s unpack this and more. 

The Dark Side of Fashion

For starters, it is responsible for 4% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. To give you some perspective, that's as much as Germany, France, and the UK produce combined! It all comes down to a production process hungry for non-renewable resources, not to mention the use of harmful dyes that send pollutants streaming into our water, sickening ecosystems and communities. Fashion's got quite the thirst, too, consuming vast amounts of water, while also depleting other precious natural resources.

And, as it turns out, non-organic cotton and cellulosic fabrics are a big driver of deforestation, with 150 million trees razed annually to make way for such crops. The heavy use of pesticides needed to keep the plants thriving degrades the soil, and also seeps into rivers and lakes, broadening its effects. 

Yet the clothes keep on coming. With all that growth comes a bigger carbon footprint, especially with the surge in polyester production. It comes from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. If things continue like this then by the time we hit 2050 fashion's carbon emissions will account for 26% of the global total.

Recycling on the other hand faces its own challenges. Currently, only 1% of discarded clothing is recycled, meaning significant investment needs to be channeled towards scaling tech that can to a level where they can truly drive circular fashion. 

Here's something else you might not have on your radar: every time we throw our synthetic clothes in the wash, we're accidentally sending a bunch of tiny plastic particles, aka microplastics, off into the water supply. These actually make up 35% of all microplastics swirling around in the ocean! And they are finding their way into us too. A study found microplastics in the blood of 80% of people tested. 

Beyond The Price Tag

While you're tempted by those unbeatable deals at your favorite fast fashion stores, the real cost is often borne by workers in the global south. That trendy blazer or pair of jeans that looks like a steal for its low cost is likely made by people sweating it out in factories that pay wages that barely scratch the surface of what's needed to live a decent life, trapping them in an endless cycle of poverty.

Even looking out clothing habits over the past decade, there has been a huge shift. In fact, people today buy 60% more clothes than they did just 15 years ago. Despite our growing collections, the life expectancy of our wardrobe pieces has taken a nosedive. Some are just worn like ten times before being discarded. More waste for landfills and incinerators.

How Vustra Supports the Earth Every Day 

At the heart of our brand is the belief that style should not come at the expense of the planet or its people. We use 100% sustainable fibers and low-impact dyes. Take our organic cotton, for instance – it saves on resources by using 90% less water when the farming process. And then there's linen, popular for its natural cooling properties and moisture-wicking capabilities. Upcycled cotton gets a second chance in our designs, too, helping us inch closer to the fashion world's ambitious 80% circularity target. And let's not forget our alpaca wool, known for its softness, durability, and champions biodiversity with a low environmental footprint, offering a conscientious choice over standard wools.

When it comes to putting it all together, our ethical production partners in India, Turkey, and Portugal, are chosen for their commitment to fair-trade practices and their certifications from globally recognized bodies like GOTS and OEKO-TEX. These partnerships guarantee that our garments are made in environments that respect and value the workforce, ensuring fair wages and safe conditions.

What Can YOU Do?

Instead of hopping on every fashion trend that pops up, why not invest in pieces that last and really stand the test of time? Go for quality over quantity, and pick out pieces that you can mix and match for different looks. When thinking about adding something to your collection, really consider if you truly need it. Think about the impact it has on the environment and society. Does it have any eco-friendly certifications? These should be from independent recognized bodies. 

Go through your closet every now and then to get rid of clothes you don't use anymore. You can donate these or find a creative way to repurpose them, helping to cut down on waste. Don't just throw clothes away because they're slightly damaged. Picking up some basic sewing skills, or getting them fixed by a professional, can make them last much longer. Get inventive with how you reuse your clothes. Share clothes with your friends or check out swap events in your area. It’s a fun way to update your closet without digging more into your pocket. 

For occasions where you might only wear an outfit once (e.g. weddings, galas, theme parties, photoshoots and the like) think about renting instead of buying. It saves money and is better for the planet since it reduces both the amount of stuff you own and the waste produced. Every little action helps in our journey to a greener earth. Be a part of this change with Vustra this Earth Day and all year round.


Photo by Hendrik Cornelissen on Unsplash

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