Why is sustainable fashion important? Right before we start, let’s all agree that the clothes, shoes and accessories we are buying and wearing are destroying this planet, little by little. The culprit is a wrongly designed fashion industry that depletes resources, kills animals, and suffocate the world with toxic chemicals and wastage.
So is there an alternative to the current model of making fashion? Yes, there is. It relies on more sustainable practices, and it translates into the use of cruelty-free and eco-friendly materials, manufacturing with natural energy, without toxic chemicals, and by reducing pollution whenever we can, to reduce your impact on the environment and safeguard this planet.
Now, it is essential to understand that while this sustainable fashion idea might sound ‘normal’ to you, not everybody thinks the same. Saying is one thing; doing is a different story.
Take, for example, our parents. Mine, yours, they all grew up in different times. It does not matter how loving and caring they are towards you. You have to understand that to them, animals and the environment have different values.
It sounds harsh, but it is true. Our parents grew up in times when the planet was not dying. Sustainability wasn’t the main topic in schools. Sustainable developments weren’t brought up always on radio and TV news. No people were giving you side-eye when you failed to put your plastic packaging in the bin. No local councils were warning you that you have failed to recycle your rubbish bins.
The older generation had a different approach to life. To them, there was no need for sustainability; there was no animal cruelty or anything of that matter. That is why it is so hard to change your parent’s perspective on animals and the planet.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you should give up. I applaud you for being on this fantastic journey of sustainability. It is a great cause, and you should keep going. It is the right thing to do, for us, and future generations.
However, you should re-canalise your resources and start focusing on your close friends. Start by encouraging them to begin their journey towards sustainable fashion, a step at a time.
There are so many ways you can inspire and help them to inspire others but remember. There is a fine line between inspiring and proselytising. I’ve made my mistakes along the way, and I’d hate for you to repeat them. So here’s what I’ve learned along the way, in my journey of helping my friends understand sustainable fashion.
Know your subject
It goes without saying, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about. Your view towards sustainable fashion might be different than others, but make sure you understand the most popular views.
Understand that while sustainable fashion is not an all-or-nothing strategy, it requires a zero-waste approach, cruelty-free towards animals, the adoption of ethical manufacturing, and global care towards resources depletion.
Lead by example
Over the years, I’ve realised that the best way to inspire is through compassion. You have to show compassion. Be an example of compassion. You can’t do this with hate or vengeance. Guilt, shame, will only scare people away when you try to bring them closer to sustainability.
Now, be careful here. Genuine compassion doesn’t mean renouncing to your values, but guiding people from the place where they are, to a higher level, to become more considerate, without judgment.
Not everybody knows about sustainable fashion, so you’ll have to start with simple subjects. Start with a general lifestyle, what’s ‘green’ and what is not. Also, don’t show off with your knowledge of the matter.
If you’re talking down to someone with less experience about the subject, you have failed before you’ve even started. Let them say it with their own words, and build up from there.
All of our friends have passions. Some do sports. Others collect thing. You and I are passioned about sustainability in general, especially in fashion.
So if you look at your passionate friends, they always talk about what they love the most. I am sure you have friends that love various things that matter to them. From martial arts to bungee jumping or kite flying, you acknowledge and support their hobbies as much as you can.
If they invite you to watch UFC together, you tag along even though it is not of your interest. That’s called friendship, and the more they talk about it, the more you appreciate their passion and love them for that.
The Same applies to you, from their point of view. If you keep talking about your passion for sustainability, even in passing conversations, your friends will take note and know how much it matters to you.
Once they know about sustainable fashion as your main passions, they’ll be more inclined to self-discovery, check for themselves, and even start conversations about it, to see you happy.
Celebrate the failure
Of course, any little sustainability victories are incredible. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there is no win. Even worse, the ones you love might let you down sometimes.
For example, sustainable fashion often comes at a higher price, and not everyone is willing to or has the means to obtain it. But don’t take it to heart. Failure is learning, so see how you can help them overcome that.
Asses the problem and all the factors that can influence the issue. Look at the time you’re spending, the energy, the resources you and your friends can devote to sustainability, and take it from there.
But finally, remember that certain subjects can be sensitive to people. So, start easy, help whenever you can, don’t judge, and don’t push people into unnecessary expenses that might one day translate into large bills.