Q: Why does sustainability matter?
A: Sustainability is a broad term that we can apply to many areas. When applied to the environment, sustainability means that we are acting in a way that the planet can sustain. For example, we avoid overfishing as it isn’t a sustainable practice - when we overfish, we severely impact fish populations which has widespread repercussions on the rest of the ecosystem and our planet. Sustainability matters because without it, we affect throw the environment out of balance and we can no longer live as we previously did. Sustainability can be practiced in many ways: choosing natural fabrics, using innovative materials with small carbon footprints, finding ways to save and recycle water, reusing old items rather than buying new - the list goes on.
Q: How does sustainability apply to fashion?
A: The fashion and textile industry has become one of the most environmentally damaging industries. Although it does lots of great things, including employing over 75 million people globally and fueling our economy with over 2.5 trillion dollars, there are equally big downsides. We’re producing more clothing than ever to meet the high demand, yet clothing is now kept only half as long. 85% of all textiles end up in the landfill each year. 60% of the clothing we make today is synthetic (unnatural) material and cannot biodegrade.The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the planet’s carbon emissions. The industry also uses about 93 billion cubic meters of water each year to produce new garments - that’s enough to support the needs of five million people. The water used isn’t properly disposed of - 20% of worldwide wastewater pollution comes from the fashion industry. The fashion industry isn’t all bad - every day there are more and more brands working to avoid the destructive behavior of the industry. That’s why it’s incredibly important to choose products made with sustainable fabrics and practices.
Q: Why is bamboo a sustainable fabric?
A: Bamboo is a natural material, meaning it can biodegrade. This also means it doesn’t break down and release microplastics, unlike synthetic materials such as polyester and rayon. It’s also a sustainable crop to grow: it doesn’t require fertilizer and it can self-regenerate from its own roots - that means there’s no need to replant. Bamboo crops require less water, pesticides, and labor than cotton. There are two types of bamboo fabric made from the crop: bamboo linen and bamboo rayon. Bamboo linen is more eco-friendly, as the production of bamboo rayon can require more chemicals to process it into a soft fabric.
Q: Why do you use mulberry silk?
A: The production of mulberry silk can be low and even zero waste, which makes the process more sustainable than alternative materials. In other words, all parts of the mulberry tree and silkworm are used. Mulberry silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms who eat only mulberry leaves. Since the mulberry tree is so hardy, it’s easily cultivated and resistant to pollution. The tree itself is used in multiple ways, as the fruit can be eaten or used for natural dye, and the tree bark has medicinal uses. The silkworm pupae are a common snack in Asian countries. The outer cocoon, the part not used for silk production, is used to stuff pillows and make fertilizer. Silk is also a natural material, so it can biodegrade.
Q: How is recycled polyester eco-friendly?
A: Recycled polyester is made from discarded plastic and synthetic textiles that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Recycled polyester gives us a more eco-conscious way to use these items, which we have an unfortunate surplus of. Plus, it limits demand for new polyester. The material also has a smaller carbon footprint than new polyester. It’s important to remember that recycled polyester still releases microfibers (tiny bits of plastic) when washed, so it’s best to use a Guppy bag or something similar, which will catch the microfibers before they enter our water system. Unlike natural fibers, recycled polyester can be made with odor control, wicking, and water-resistant performance, so it’s great for athletic gear, shoes, accessories, and other items.