Here at Duchess London, we value fashion and presentation. Whether dressing for work or for social life, there is never an excuse to look anything less than as elegant as you can possibly be. We pride ourselves on being stylish; clothes are empowering and it is important to dress to impress.
However, we believe that it is equally important to be aware of our responsibility to the environment and the social consequences of fashion. Eco-awareness may be a topic that is gradually gaining the attention it deserves, but the hugely negative impact of the fashion industry still manages to go relatively under the radar. Sustainable fashion is not just important. It is a necessity.
So what is ‘sustainable fashion’? Why should you care about it? And what can we all do about it?
Dress to Impress in Sustainable Fashion: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
‘Sustainable fashion’ is self-explanatory: fashion with sustainability in mind. The aim is to create a system that considers and attempts to prohibit the negative environmental and social impact of fashion.
We have entered into an age of ‘disposable fashion’, leading to the fashion industry being the second largest polluter in the world. Only the oil industry has a more detrimental effect on our planet.
All over the world, we have become obsessed with disposable fashion. Whether it’s daywear or evening wear, a dress or a t-shirt, the desire to dress to impress in disposable fashion has become the norm. Clothes of poor quality are produced at low costs, sold at low prices, used for a short period of time, and then discarded at will. We waste the planet’s finite resources making clothes that keep us briefly entertained and quickly cast aside to be replaced with something similar.
This can’t go on. The environmental footprint created by the fashion industry is truly enormous and this waste created by a continuous cycle of cheap clothes is just the tip of the iceberg. The materials used to make cheaper clothes have a huge environmental impact, but so does the increasing amount of pesticides, toxic dyes, and chemicals used on millions of cheap materials that don’t last a month.
The Human Impact
The impact of fashion doesn’t just affect the environment; clothes keep getting cheaper and factory workers all over the world are paying the price. Cheap clothes equals cheap labour and developing countries that lack adequate labour laws are the places where large companies that supply this fast fashion thrive.
The Fair Trade Act has been a phenomenal catalyst in improving these circumstances. It has ensured that companies are caring for their employees as much as their profit, that they are working in safe conditions, and receiving fair pay — but that doesn’t mean it has been eradicated the world over.
Designed To Disfigure
Sustainable fashion is not only better for the world. It can personally benefit you. Fast fashion chains sell an ocean of clothing every year, but these items are never made to last. The disposable nature of clothes isn’t just an unfortunate disadvantage of low cost clothing, it’s a business model, the one chosen by these high street fast fashion chains that prefer clothes to fall apart and prompt you to buy again and again. From evening wear and cocktail dresses, to work clothes and accessories, these clothes are designed to keep customers temporarily satisfied, before feeling like they’re being left behind by a rapidly changing fashion scene.
What Should We Do to Ethically Dress to Impress?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The first thing to do is avoid fast fashion. As Vivienne Westwood has continuously expressed: buy less clothes and buy clothes that are made to last — not to fall apart. Stick to the rule of quality over quantity. Don’t invest in shoddy clothes that you will throw out in no time. Items like these are less durable, but also less personal and less rewarding.
Research your brands and materials. Choose a dress that will last, rather than several cheap dresses that you will buy over the same period of time. Dress to impress in clothes that are hardwearing and resilient. Clothes of a greater quality will fit you better and are more comfortable to wear. You will consequently feel more confident and be happy with them for longer.
Go for reused clothes and give your discarded evening wear and dresses to shops that will sell clothes on. Try to choose timeless clothes that transcend fashion. These will be of use for years to come, never looking dated and never going out of style. Fashion fades, but style is eternal!
As a company, it is important to keep these core values at heart. While satisfying our customers is of the utmost importance to Duchess London, the environmental and social impact of what we do is very important to us as a company. We like our customers to understand why we make sure our clothes are sourced responsibly and aim to encourage as well as to please.
Brands who endorse this eco-awareness want people to understand why it is so important. Make sure you are going for brands that, like us, manufacture in the UK or somewhere where exploitation isn’t possible and clothes are made fairly. Whether it’s our evening wear, cocktail dresses, or Audrey Hepburn dresses, Duchess London’s products consist heavily of organic fibres and sustainable fabrics, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.