What Is Sustainable Fashion? | Daylight Lingerie

What Is Sustainable Fashion?

At Daylight we talk about creating sustainable underwear, but what exactly is sustainability and what is sustainable fashion?

Sustainable fashion refers to fashion that doesn’t compromise the needs of future generations, and is therefore sustainable over time. For sustainable fashion brands, this will involve using resources thoughtfully and treating everyone involved in the production process fairly.

As a consumer, sustainable fashion could mean buying clothes less often, researching the brands you buy from and making items last longer.

Here are a few things to consider when working towards to sustainability in fashion, both as a sustainable fashion brand and as a consumer.

These are all values that we strive to uphold when creating our luxury sustainable bras, giving you confidence that our lingerie isn’t just 100% biodegradable but has also been produced sustainably and ethically.

what is sustainable fashion: a white Daylight bra on a neutral linen background, with small white flowers laid over the top

Sustainable Fashion Production

Sustainability should cover the entire lifespan of an item, and that starts with production. Resources like energy and water should be used as efficiently as possible: from growing crops for raw materials, to manufacturing the products, to reducing or offsetting carbon footprint when shipping.

It’s important not to harm the environment during production as well, for example by leaking dirty water or chemicals into fresh water sources. Using natural or eco-friendly dyes and using organically farmed crops (no chemical fertilisers, pesticides or insecticides) such as organic cotton are great ways for brands to be more sustainable.

what is sustainable fashion: a close up of a cotton plant including soft white cotton fibres and the stalk, with a neutral background

Sustainable fashion production isn’t just about the environmental impact; it’s also about the socio-economic impact. That means that everyone involved in the production process should be treated ethically.

Sustainable fashion brands should ensure that their factories pay workers fairly, prohibit child and enforced labour, and provide benefits like healthcare, childcare and paid leave. Brands may also want to reinvest in the communities producing their products, for example supporting schools in farming communities.

Reducing Waste

Landfill gets a lot of attention, and anything that can be done to reduce the amount of waste we produce and the number of items sent to landfill is a great step towards sustainability.

Again, this can start at production. A huge amount of scrap material is leftover when creating fashion items, but many brands will recycle scraps or even turn them into craft kits to sell as gifts.

Using materials that can be recycled is great, and using natural fibres that can be completely reabsorbed by the planet is even better. The sustainable underwear we create at Daylight is completely biodegradable, so there is no need for waste at all! Some examples of materials that are sustainable in this way include:

  • Organic cotton
  • Tencel (made from wood pulp)
  • Natural rubber
  • Bamboo
  • Cork
  • Hemp
  • Linen

what is sustainable fashion: a close up of a bamboo forest, showing green and brown bamboo stalks on an overcast day

Whether or not a product is made from biodegradable materials, brands have a responsibility to create quality, long-lasting products that won’t have to be disposed of (and likely sent to landfill) after just a few wears.

Remember, it’s not just the fashion item itself that should be made from sustainable materials. The packaging is important too!

Sustainable Fashion Consumption

There are many ways, big and small, that you can consume fashion more sustainably and ethically. It doesn’t mean that you should only ever buy from sustainable brands, which isn’t always practical or affordable. Here are a few ways in which you can join the sustainable fashion movement:

Research the Brands You're Buying From

Research brands before you buy: look at their website, social media and the ‘Good on You’ directory. Consider the materials they use, their treatment of workers, their marketing strategies and any certifications.

Buy Less Often

Ask yourself how often you’ll wear an item, whether you really need it and avoid trends. Try creating a capsule wardrobe.

Buy Quality Over Quantity

Invest in high quality items that you can love for longer. This will save you money in the long run and reduce the amount you’re sending to landfill.

Aftercare

Look after your items. Wash them less often, use an eco-friendly detergent designed to maintain the quality of your clothes, and put them in a wash bag to protect the item and prevent micro plastics being washed into our waterways. All Daylight bras come with a complimentary wash bag!

Clothes Swaps

Arrange a clothes swap with friends - items that you no longer love could be their new favourite outfit, and you’ll feel like you’ve gone home with something new.

Rent Your Clothes

Use a clothing rental service - especially for one-off outfits for special events or if you like to change up your wardrobe often.

Repurpose / Upcyle

Turn an old T-shirt into a new skirt, an oversized shirt into a summer dress or even jeans into a tote bag. Pinterest is full of new ideas for re-purposing old clothes.

what is sustainable fashion: neutral coloured linen sheets

Fashion Can’t be 100% Sustainable

Fashion can’t be 100% sustainable. It’s almost impossible to control every factor along the production and consumption journey, and there are pros and cons to every sustainability decision made.

For example, many brands (including Daylight Lingerie) will use organic cotton. Organic cotton is natural, biodegradable, and doesn’t use any pesticides or insecticides – which have a hugely damaging effect on the environment.

Organic cotton is therefore much more sustainable than non-organic cotton and synthetic fibres, but it still uses a large amount of water to grow, so it’s not perfect.

Producing garments locally minimizes carbon footprint and is therefore another great step towards being a more sustainable fashion brand. But a huge part of sustainability is ensuring fair treatment of workers, and producing locally doesn’t have a positive impact on working conditions in developing countries.

what is sustainable fashion: pampas grass blowing in the wind

Even recycling isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Using recycled materials to produce sustainable fashion items is a great way of reducing the amount of resources used and preventing or delaying waste ending up in landfill.

However, recycling sometime uses more energy and chemicals than creating a new material. Items made from recycled plastics will still release microplastics when washed (which end up in rivers and oceans to be consumed by marine live and even get into our drinking water), and won’t biodegrade when you’re finished with them.

So, What Exactly is Sustainable Fashion?

There is a lot to consider when it comes to sustainable fashion, much of which we haven’t had the chance to talk about here – for example responsible marketing (sales usually mean waste and new products can encourage overconsumption), diversity and inclusivity, transparency, veganism and more. 

But at the heart of it, sustainable fashion is all about preserving our environment for future generations and treating people fairly. 

Whilst there are many ways to be more sustainable, it’s almost impossible to do them all so small steps are the key!

Don't forget to take a look at our sustainable lingerie: we've created the world's first 100% biodegradable underwired bra. It's thoughtfully designed for comfort and support, whilst completely breaking down in nature when you no longer need it.

what is sustainable fashion: a daylight lingerie bra in white, laid flat on some neutral coloured linen