“Beauty” is the first word that comes to mind with regard to the fashion and the “beauty” industry. However, an increasing number of consumers expect to find qualities such as “organic” or “recycled” in the products they buy, as well as a guarantee of their environmental, ethical and sustainable production.
It is not a question of “natural” versus “chemical” because most organic and natural ingredients go through processing and the components of the final product are not in the state in which they exist in nature. What differentiates the eco-industry are the environmentally friendly technologies, and seen in this way, buying such a product is a step towards more conscious consumer choice.
Taking cosmetics as an example, the core value of natural or organic production is that it strives to be in harmony with nature, including in terms of packaging materials. Organically oriented brands look for innovative technologies that minimize the use of plastic and rely on recyclable or biodegradable materials. Equally valuable is the fact that many of these brands are certified as “cruelty-free”, meaning that neither the products nor their components have been tested on animals, and their production does not involve the infliction of pain and suffering.
In the fashion industry, the term sustainable fashion has emerged, often referred to as eco-fashion. Sustainable fashion has developed as a counterpoint to so-called fast fashion and is gaining more and more followers, especially among the generation born around the year 2000. Fast fashion is flooding the market with products. Brands, from high-end to low-end, compete to see who will be the first to present new collections, and in the end, quality gives way to quantity. Everyone has more than one garment in their wardrobe that they have never worn and will never wear. Fast fashion also comes at a very high price – thousands of tonnes of unworn clothes and textiles are thrown away every year, wasting precious natural resources and increasing the waste dumped into the environment.
Contrary to fast fashion, sustainable fashion is slow, which means more durable and higher quality clothes. Raw materials for production are “borrowed” from nature because they can be recycled and reused. The production technologies minimise the waste of fresh water and the disposal of harmful chemicals, and last but not least, they are kind to animals. Wearing clothes made of natural hair, for example, is increasingly unattractive, even ugly, and manufacturers have no choice, but to take this into account.
Another fashion gaining popularity, especially among the youngest consumers, is buying clothes from thrift stores for high-quality secondhand clothes. Shopping in these shops is by no means shameful on the contrary, it is even exciting. You can always come across a treasure – an original designer garment that you can’t otherwise afford. And besides the joy of the priceless item, you can feel happy that you are contributing to the environment, giving new life to the garment, and reducing waste. Internet connectivity is also helping boost the online used clothing trade worldwide. Popular influencers and fashion gurus inspire their followers by promoting this way of shopping.