With the fashion industry being one of the largest perpetrators of the sustainability issues our planet faces today and many companies beginning to address these issues, an important question emerges: Which approaches to sustainable fashion are most effective?
The central problem of the fashion industry is ‘fast fashion’, the quick and cheap overproduction of clothing to meet consumers’ demand for each new trend. There are over 100 billion garments produced each year which end up contributing to the 92 million tons of textile waste produced each year. Exploitation of resources, pollution levels, and climate change are all exacerbated as a result along with enormous amounts of textile waste even though this level of production is unnecessary. H&M reported four billion dollar’s worth of leftover inventory in 2018. The most effective sustainable fashion practices will help to reverse the negative effects of ‘fast fashion’ and use a different approach to production.
Newer companies seem to be the best examples of sustainable fashion despite industry giants such as H&M attempting to make a difference. This is because these new brands are aware of the issues created by their industry and have the opportunity to abandon the ‘fast fashion’ model altogether from the beginnings of their business strategy.
House of Sunny is one such sustainable brand founded by Sunny Williams in 2011. Rather than simply minimizing their contribution to the problem of textile waste, House of Sunny’s practices act as a solution. By only producing two limited edition collections per year, they minimize the leftover inventory from unsold products and therefore the possibility of wasted product. However, any leftover material or product is used to create their accessories, care labels and swing tags.
With so much time in between collections, their designers have the time they need to source recycled materials such as from ‘dead-stock’, the unwanted and unsold inventory of clothes which often ends up being often incinerated. This practice does not exploit natural resources as it does not use any new materials.
House of Sunny produces few clothes that are only applicable to this season’s trends. They instead strive for longevity, producing classic, good quality pieces to reduce the likely hood of them needing to be thrown away from wear and tear or from going out of style.