Essentials of style
As we wait for these technologies to evolve to a scale that’s economical and highly desirable for manufacturers, it is up to us as consumers to be smart with our buying habits.
There is absolutely no harm in buying into faux animal products, but they have to be seen as lifelong investments. The generally nonbiodegradable nature of commercial faux fur, faux leather and other synthetic materials that mimic animal-based fibres means that they have to be carefully considered purchases. Stella McCartney—a staunch believer in sustainable and cruelty-free fashion—echoes this sentiment.
Stella McCartney consumers are encouraged “to care for their items and be responsible with their garments, never throwing them away. Luxury does not mean landfill—it means forever”.
There is also the option of buying pre-owned fashion; an easy way to take part in closing the loop. For the uninitiated, the act of thrift-shopping and vintage-hunting has moved into the 21st century. Digital marketplaces stocking pre-owned authentic luxury fashion clothes, shoes and accessories have grown ever more popular. Vestiaire Collective, one of the most internationally recognised of the lot, stocks everything from vintage Chanel and Helmut Lang, to the latest Louis Vuitton threads. The concept has even made its way to Singapore with The Fifth Collection and StyleTribute as the two key players in the local scene.
They’re all pre-owned fashion but in good enough condition that no one would be any wiser. Make it a habitual purchase instead of it being a retaliation to the creative direction of a new figure at a beloved fashion house. Or take it a step further and put up that leather coat you no longer see a use for, or that silk fashion pyjama set you bought on impulse, for sale. Someone, somewhere would probably take a liking to them.
We live in an age of great access to information. And there is an abundance of information out there. Newer fashion brands are increasingly more transparent with where their products are made, how their products are made and even the costs involved in making them. Look to brands such as Everlane and Oliver Cabell, where the cost of every material and labour is broken down so you know what you’re paying for, and can feel good about buying into a business that is ethical.
The best thing about having access to information is to use it and be informed.
Can the fashion industry be sustainable? Yes. But like all things worth fighting for, it will take time and dedication. As much as there are fashion brands—both fast and luxury—that are taking steps to close the loop, it is still up to us to shift the conversation towards more sustainable practices. It’s by changing our buying habits, being more aware of the brands we purchase from and understanding the fashion system that we can help to pressure brands to look deeper into positive solutions.
Fashion and sustainability is a conundrum indeed; one that has to be solved and can be solved as a collective. There is hope yet, my friend.
Fur has been part of the luxury fashion vocabularyfor centuries.Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo receives an award for the Art of Craftsmanship for its dedication to innovation andsustainability.
YouTube announces an intention to be more fashion-centric and hires Derek Blasberg to head the initiative.