Tomorrow’s Fashion will be sustainable or will not be! Today, consumers are increasingly sensitive to the environmental impact of the clothing they wear. This concept of sustainable fashion, which can be also defined as eco-responsible fashion, is becoming more and more widespread.
As proof, this concept, most often supported by young brands which make it a pillar of their development from their launch, such as Pachamama, is nowadays increasingly followed by major brands.
So what is sustainable fashion exactly? What does this mean and how do we measure its impact on traditional fashion and textile industry? Between Green Washing and true awareness, we will try with this article to bring our contribution on the subject! This presentation is our vision and you will surely find other interesting approaches. We will also explain how we take the environment into account when developing our Pachamama project and manufacturing our backpacks.
Sustainable fashion, what does it mean ?
The fashion industry and its excesses
The textile industry is often criticized because it pollutes a lot. So much that it is now at a turning point. Indeed, the fashion industry is currently the second most polluting industry in the world. The use of polluting material in the textile manufacturing process and the great distances travelled by a garment before arriving in the shop near home are the main visible elements of this impact on the environment.
Nevertheless, the most alarming scourge today (and perhaps less visible) is the significant increase in clothing production with the Fast Fashion system. Between 2000 and 2015, clothing production doubled to nearly 100,000 million garments sold each year.
This system is particularly harmful for our planet because in addition to increasing the pollution mentioned above, the garments produced are generally of poor quality and do not last in time. We are talking about low-cost clothing. In order to produce at a low cost, manufacturers prefer low-strength materials that will not offer great durability. The gear of overconsumption is thus set in place and also leads to significant waste.
Beyond the environmental aspect, the fast fashion and low-cost production system also leads to a major social problem. Indeed, many people in the textile industry works in very difficult or even inhuman conditions. This because the industrialists of the sector seek to rationalize production costs to the extreme, to the detriment of other stakeholders. We discuss this social aspect in more detail in our article on ethical fashion.
Solutions for a more sustainable fashion
To struggle against this phenomenon and make room for a more sustainable fashion, the first solution is to produce less. Reducing the quantities produced can have a real positive impact on the environment. However, the quantities produced will only decrease if demand decreases as well. It is for this reason that it is essential to educate the consumer about the excesses of Fast fashion and the environmental impact of the textile industry.
The new dynamic around Slow fashion perfectly symbolizes this consumer awareness about fashion industry. Slow fashion, also called responsible fashion or sustainable fashion, consists of consuming less but better. It consists in favouring in its wardrobe pieces of good quality that will last in time. We explain this concept in more detail in our article dedicated to ethical fashion that we encourage you to read! Although this trend has been taking off in recent years, it is still quite marginal compared to the current system of fast fashion. Its development requires more action from the actors of this sector.
Tomorrow’s fashion, a sustainable fashion?
Today, a few actions appear at the global level. For example, international brands develop collections based on recycled materials. In 2019, fashion giants signed agreements to reduce their environmental impact in the Fashion Pact. This is positive and goes in the good direction : an awareness of current environmental issues.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to judge and measure in the short term the real impact of these actions. Brands are often accused of using the climate emergency as a marketing slogan. It is called green washing. Green washing is a marketing process that consists in giving his company an eco-responsible and environmentally friendly image, through communication campaigns, while it is not always the reality.
If the transition to a more sustainable fashion does not come from the manufacturers themselves, they may be pushed by the new generations. Indeed, younger generations are increasingly concerned about their consumption and inclined to make the choice of ethical and sustainable brands in their purchases.
Sustainable fashion and Pachamama
At Pachamama, we have always wanted to minimize our environmental impact in our project. Since the launch of our brand, we have been trying to put in place good practices in order to follow an eco-responsible approach. Something that is not always obvious on a continent such as South America, where the crafts are very developed (and very beautiful!) but where there is no real structure to frame the textile work.
Selection of materials
For example, when it comes to raw materials, we manufacture our bags from materials selected in the region. Whether it’s leather, metal parts or aguayo, our goal is to buy raw materials locally and to favour short circuits in order to participate in the Bolivian economy and minimize our environmental impact.
Moreover, we have chosen to use eco-responsible materials to pack your pretty backpacks. For example, you will receive your backpack in a nice tote bag. For our small leather goods, it is packed in recycled paper covers.
The online media L’info durable has written a nice article on the ethical approach of our Pachamama project, which we encourage you to read!
Leather selection and manufacture
Our products are made from cow leather coming from Bolivia and intended for food. In order not to enter a system of overconsumption and to maintain a reasonable production, we use all the skins, even the parts with slight irregularities. These shades are sometimes visible on our leather backpacks and we are proud of them! They contribute to the charm and uniqueness of each Pachamama backpack.
We also manufacture our bags from vegetable-tanned leather. The use of this process with low environmental impact meets our wish to follow a responsible approach. Vegetable tanning consists in tanning the skin with natural substances, plant tannins, which can be recovered, for example, from trees.
Thanks to this method, we obtain leathers more respectful of the environment and are therefore more adapted to our desire to participate in an ethical fashion. We will explain in more details the process of making leather in an article dedicated to leather and its manufacture.
Moreover, the solidity of this type of leather is particularly suited to our desire to make resistant and high quality bags that will accompany the customer in his daily life.
Thus, sustainable fashion seems more and more present today. Environmental concerns now appear to be an important or even essential component in the consumer’s purchasing process. And it is a good thing!
At Pachamama, we manufacture backpacks and travel bags. Discover our different models in our eshop!