Trends and sustainability are often considered mutually exclusive. Ethical fashion was historically accused of being too expensive and inferior in design; however, there's now an army of brands fighting to change this outdated perception. Reformation famously calls itself the next-best option after being naked, and Emma Watson is one of the most stylish women in the world, only wearing brands with an ethical mission statement. All this considered, do we need to give up on trends in order to take sustainability seriously?
I can tell you now that there isn't a simple answer. Ethical fashion is complex—an initiative like H&M's recycling scheme is great, but it isn't going to solve anything overnight. Thinking more about our consumption, and taking steps (however big or small) is ultimately going to make a real difference. "Without a doubt, a change in mindset is what is needed," say Ella Grace Denton and Jemma Finch, the pair behind the clothes-swap initiative Stories Behind Things.
"We focus on fashion as something we can love and will also last—something that's timeless and not thrown away after just one wear," they continue. "Our focus should be on individual style and expression rather than mimicking trends. Style is about the individual. By buying into trends, we're simply buying into an industry's business model. By consuming fashion that's both meaningful and made in a way that aligns with our personal beliefs, what we wear becomes a true expression of the self."
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