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Can Fashion Be Sustainable?

Clothing rack in Devinto studio. Photo credit: Audrey Jaber.

Whether consumers are supplementing their physical wardrobes with virtual outfits or shopping at sustainable stores, it’s certainly possible to make the fashion industry more sustainable than it is today. “If our greed is reduced, fashion can be completely sustainable,” Preeti Arya says. 

 

But that doesn’t mean that a sustainable fashion industry is easily achievable. “It's a fundamentally flawed industry,” James Baldwin says. “It exists to constantly sell you new products, to constantly tell you that what you had before is obsolete, and to constantly tell you that whatever you're wearing is not good enough now.”

 

Even Aiste Zitnikaite who created her own fashion brand doesn’t believe that today’s fashion industry can truly be sustainable. “I think it can be more sustainable than it is now. But at the end of the day, it's a business, so there's always going to be that drive to get people to buy new stuff,” Zitnikaite says

 

If we continue on today’s trajectory, a sustainable industry will definitely not be the end result. In fact, the global market is projected to increase by 3.9% each year until 2025.

 

Still, with slow fashion, digital designs and an abundance of education, the industry can certainly improve. “I think that fundamentally at the moment, people think that sustainability and fashion don't go together,” Isabelle Saxton says. “But I think that with the right amount of education to consumers in general, then sustainable fashion could definitely have a future.”

 

If a sustainable industry is the ultimate goal, then a lot of change must be made. The way that people view fashion has to change completely, and consumers must be willing to do their part. “Staying trendy is costing the planet heavily,” Zitnikaite says. “And what people are not realizing is that if the planet dies we won't survive.”