The Age of Circular Fashion

The people are growing more and more aware, the younger generation are starting to step up towards the challenge. Of course the issue reiterated here is that our Earth is dying, and we are responsible for its destruction. The fashion industry is unsurprisingly one of the main contributors of wastes that is damaging our environment. According to a report by Quantis, the industry is accounted for more than 8% of the world's carbon footprint as of 2016, not to mention the other negative effects such as water pollution, high amounts of textile wastes, and unsatisfactory working conditions and ill treatments towards millions of workers. The fashion industry's dirty secrets have been exposed and conscious consumerism has become the response in the face of these problems.

A recent report by Lyst reveals an increase in online searches of terms like ethical brands and econyl by 66% since 2018. Not only that, there is also a rise of 187% in page views for sustainable denim, all of which are testimonies of the change in consumer behaviours. Fashion brands are heeding the change in buying habits in their customers and are transitioning towards a more ethical approach in manufacturing their products. Inditex, the parent company to fast fashion giant, Zara, has pledged to the cause as well and promised that by 2025, all of their brands, which include Bershka and Pull & Bear, will be made only with fabrics such as cotton, linen and polyester that are either organic, sustainable or recycled. Evidence of the importance in acknowledging the need for sustainability can be observed in big fast fashion brands that are declining in sales due to the lack of commitment towards protecting the environment as well as a shift in consumer preference for "slow fashion".

 The current mentality of consumers is that sustainable products bear a heavier pricetag, an issue they are not keen to compromise for. Many wish to contribute to the cause and help the environment but are not financially able to do so. Admittedly, sustainable products are more expensive due to the quality of the materials used and the higher cost in manufacturing ethically as well as providing fair wages. However, we do not believe that customers have to burn a hole in their wallets in order to commit to being sustainable, thus our products at Beloved are reasonably priced so as to make it accessible for all.

How do we commit to being more sustainable? Starting from the core of our products, we try to reduce pollutants by using fibres that are friendlier to the environment. We are looking into producing items that are made 100% from organic or recycled cotton, linen, Tencel and other sustainable fabrics in the future. As of now, we reduce the use of fibres such as polyester, nylon and wool and focus on incorporating the aforementioned sustainable fabrics into our designs. Our team from Beloved also strive to ensure our partnered factories maintain a proper and conducive work environment for the employees and provide them with fair wages. At Beloved, we aim to produce classic pieces that never go out a season and are well-fitted with good quality workmanship to encourage customers to reduce consumption through clothes that last longer. The philosophy of less is more, should be applied to not just designs, but through actions as well as the amount of unwanted textile surmounts to a large percentage of waste.

Consignment is another initiative we are pushing for in order to reduce the carbon footprints left behind by the fashion industry. We call it the buy-back campaign and it is simply as the term coined. You may exchange your preloved garments for credits to be used for your future shopping endeavours at Beloved, and we will help you to donate or recycle these pieces through our channels. Saving the environment and receiving shopping credits, now that is a win-win situation. This programme will also reduce the need to manufacture more pieces as the preloved clothing can be marketed as second-hand garments, thus effectively minimising production waste.

 Once the clothing leaves the shop, it will be in your hands to take the next steps into reducing the pollution. Did you know your laundry also contributes to harming the environment? Microfibres are tiny bits of plastic that are shed from certain fabrics like polyester when you wash them and these fibres end up in our waterways where it absorbs toxins and pollute the environment. In order to reduce the amount of microfibres released, minimise the frequency of washing your clothes, wash only when necessary. Not only that, you will also be reducing your electricity consumption which in turn helps you save money! Keep in mind to use a colder water temperature (30-40 degrees Celsius) when doing your laundry and stick to air-drying your wet garments instead of tumble-drying it. After all, Singapore's weather is warm enough that our laundry dries fast. Your clothes will thank you for the reduced washing and colder waters which are gentler for the fabric, extending the shelf life of the pieces. Switching to a bio-friendly detergent is also a great way to cut down on harmful chemicals that are released into the water. Look out for products that are free from sulphate and phosphate.

Sustainable fashion is far from perfect. There are still so many things we do not know, and so many unexplored methods on improving the industry. The important thing is that we do not become complacent with what we have already contributed to the environment, but what we can further do to help it and we are not able to take on this journey alone. We need you, the consumers, to play your part and support conscious living, support the labels that strive for a better Earth.