OPINION: Revealing sustainable fabric choices

I have always loved fashion.

From mixing and matching clothes for my Bratz dolls and creating little piles of clothes in my room to finally learning how to make my own clothes, I have always loved fashion.

As I’ve gotten older, social media has come into play not only in my life but also in the fashion industry – something that connects everyone to what’s going on in the industry and makes it so accessible to see what’s showing on the runway everywhere.

In addition to being able to see what’s on the runway, social media also makes it easy to learn more about the clothes themselves. Finding out what fabric something is made of, the process behind it, and everything in between just made me love fashion more.

With all this knowledge, I began to question why this information about substances, sources and process is important. Why do some brands and designers go out of their way to share this information while others don’t?

It all depends on how brands try to be environmentally friendly or environmentally friendly. When creating fashion, from shirts to shoes, there are a plethora of fabric and material options to choose from.

Of course, some will be more expensive or even harder to get, but it can be worth it in the end. It all depends on the brands, what they represent and their budget.

If a brand wants to provide fashion items that are sourced from sustainable materials such as cotton, it will not only cost more money but also time. This is why fast fashion has taken such a strong lead in the fashion industry.

The ability to stay on top of fast-moving trend cycles and create clothing quickly allows fast fashion companies to keep customers coming back.

On the other hand, designers who try to upcycle and are aware of the ecological footprint their clothes leave on the earth have a much longer turnaround time. For designers who want to focus on what goes into their garments, there are many more factors at play.

I never really considered the importance of fabric and source selection. Not to be superficial, but I’ve always only cared if I thought a piece of clothing was cute and wearable. It wasn’t until I started seeing some of my favorite brands share their processes that I understood the environmental impact of clothing production.

Now, with my knowledge of fabrics and their impact on the environment, I can’t help but admire brands that go the extra mile in the manufacturing process and are aware of what goes into their garments.

Even on a personal level, in the rare moments when I feel spontaneous and want to create my own garments – usually basic pants or a skirt – I have to go the extra mile with my fabrics.

Looking through my giant box of old scraps that I’m sure will come in handy one day when I go to the thrift store and find pieces to cut up and work with are some of the ways I try to be more sustainable, when creating clothes.

But I always think it’s important to note that it’s not up to us regular customers to feel guilty for supporting fast fashion or not having the means to be sustainable in fashion.

Bigger designers and brands have the ability to accept responsibility and realize their environmental wrongdoing.

For those who don’t, I take note and so does Earth.

Borjana Alia is a student at Michigan State University. Alia reports for the Great Lakes Echo.

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