Basic Principles of Sustainable Fashion and Its Link with Aspects of Social Construction
Fashion connotes novelty and change (Kawamura 2005, pp.5–6), and it currently operates at an accelerated pace, with continuously shifting trends, fast manufacturing, endless shopping opportunities not bounded to time or place, coupled with cheap prices keeping today’s consumers easily in vogue. Although clothes offer us much more than just function – they may bring us emotional satisfaction, confidence, a feeling of belonging or simply beauty – at some point the more we buy the less we are assured of feeling satisfied. Current consumption patterns of buying too much and keeping too little, of throwaway fast fashion, deplete natural resources and negatively impact the environment and the society at large. Fortunately, there are alternatives to the current flood of mass-produced, disposable garments. Slow fashion and artisanal fashion are two such alternatives. Labels based on these ideas have different emphasis in their ways of working. While utilizing some of the elements that fashion celebrates, such as newness and change, they operate with a different, anti-mass-market mindset and at slower speed. Slow fashion, which stresses especially traditional skills, small-scale and local production, and a search for balance in the fashion system together with economic, social, and ecological systems, is often associated with a more sustainable system of fashion (see e.g. Clark 2008; Fletcher 2010). The concept of slow fashion is derived from the philosophy of slow food that cultivates especially taste, quality and a rich variety of food (www.slowfood.com). Today, artisanal is also often associated with food, from bread and cheese to coffee and chocolate. It denotes the making process, typically handcrafted and based on traditional methods or recipes, which are fairly easy to understand in terms of cooking and baking. Artisanal is also paired with fashion to signify a certain type of fashion similar in spirit to other artisanal products and thus referring to handcrafted, non-industrial, traditional and small-batch production. However, the term artisanal fashion has not been discussed in the academic context and does not have a precise definition. The concept of artisanal fashion is obviously close to that of slow fashion, and sometimes an artisanal type of fashion production is included as an element of slow fashion. One distinctive feature of artisanal fashion is that it highlights the fashion designer’s skills. Sustainable fashion is part of the Slow Fashion movement, developed in recent decades and used interchangeably with environmental, green and ethical modes (Carey & Cervellon 2014). Sustainable fashion emerged for the first time in the 1960s, when consumers became aware of the clothing industry’s impact on the environment and asked the industry to change its practices (Jung & Jin 2014 ). Although environmental fashions were predominant in the beginning, this changed with the emergence of fur campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s, followed by the focus on ethical clothing in the late 1990s. Ethical fashion is linked equitable working conditions, a sustainable business model (Joergens 2006), organic and environmentally friendly materials (Johnston 2012), certificates and traceability (Henninger 2015). Sustainable fashion as part of a slow fashion movement is often misrepresented as the opposite of fast fashion. Slow Fashion is based on philosophical ideals that focus on sustainability values, such as good working conditions and reduced environmental destruction (eg Borland 2011, Bocolnagara and Sheppard 2013). It challenges the fast fashion model by breaking the boundaries between the organization and stakeholders, slowing down the production process, moving away from self-concept and focusing on empowering workers by offering a choice of change (Clark 2008). According to The Cost Cost (2015), sustainable fashion is more than heresy, but takes into account the social, natural and economic ‘price’ of fashion production. However, uncertainties remain as to the meaning of ‘sustainable fashion’ and possible guidelines for sustainable clothing production (Watson & Yan 2013, The True Cost 2015). The slow fashion movement and sustainable fashion are increasingly important, but consumer awareness remains low (Gonzalez, 2015). Past research on sustainable fashion has focused on consumer perceptions and attitudes and their impact on consumer buying behavior. Although research has focused on the sustainable aspects of fashion, current studies lack an academic understanding of what sustainable fashion is from a holistic perspective.
- · What are the basic principles of sustainable fashion from the point of view of small organizations, experts and consumers?
- · What is the link between the concept of sustainable fashion and aspects of social construction?
- · The slow fashion movement has emerged as a response to the fast fashion and ‘unsustainable’ growth of companies. It promotes ethical behavior, reducing fashion production and the quality of purchases on quantitative clothing (Fletcher 2010, Ertekin & Atik 2014). Slow Fashion and the most sustainable fashion seek to empower workers throughout the supply chain, to use traditional recycling, recycling and production techniques and to integrate renewable and organic raw materials (Johnston 2012). Slow Fashion is moving away from current growth-based fashion practices that require a change in system, infrastructure and asset thinking (Fletcher 2010). The key to slowing down fashion and sustainable fashion is a balanced approach to fashion production that promotes long-term relationships, strengthens local production and emphasizes transparency (Ertekin & Atik 2014). The latter has received increasing attention since the Rana Plaza incident, which called for increased supply chain controls and transparency at all stages of the manufacturing process (eg, Pookulangara & Shephard 2013, Jung & Jin 2014).
- · The initial meaning of slow fashion highlights the values of sustainability and ethical behavior, but the media seem to promote only sustainable fashion as a ‘fairly fast’ garment, reinforced by the fact that slow fashion companies do not generally produce only two series per year for spring / summer and autumn / winter (Pookulangara & Shephard 2013). Although environmental changes have already taken place, for example, the introduction of organic materials or the promotion of sustainable groups (such as the H & M line), which should make it easier for companies to promote sustainable fashion, ‘the mobilization a sustainable fashion system is both complex and challenging ‘(Retinopathy and Aging 2014: 8). Various obstacles to the mobilization of sustainable fashion emerge: First, transparency in the global supply chain may not always be possible. In order to maintain their competitiveness, manufacturers are in a hurry to lower their prices and sometimes to reduce their angles. Secondly, the increase in the production and availability of clothing reinforces ‘the appetite for fashion’, which reinforces the differences in the attitudes and behaviors of consumers who wish to buy sustainable fashion in a sustainable way, without, however, continuing to behave (for example, Goworek et al 2013, McNeill & Moore 2015). This may be due to lack of knowledge and awareness, which can hinder the further development of sustainable fashion (Goworek et al 2013). Thirdly, in a competitive environment such as the fashion sector, it is necessary to distinguish between us and others, which can be achieved through reverdalisation (Ahluwalia & Miller 2014, Du 2015). As sustainability becomes a ‘megatrend’ (Mittelstaedt et al 2014), companies are beginning to use buzzwords, such as eco, bio, green or green in their marketing communications (Chen & Chang, 2013). In the garment manufacturing process, more and more companies are involved in green cleaning, which is defined as a misleading advertisement of ecological credentials. This means that the organization is displaying a poor, intentional environmental performance, but is communicating with it. Consumers do not trust sustainability and green claims where they do not. (Chen & Chang, 2013), following the greening, is that any company that promotes social or environmental data is treated primarily by suspicion. Reliable relationships may arise later, but it takes time to establish, strengthen and maintain (Rahmen and The latest study has neglected the concept and scope of slow fashion as well as a common definition of sustainable and slow fashion (Prothero and Fithett 2000, Watson and Yan 2013) This is addressed in this research.
Background on the topic
Consumers note that because of the use of greener materials, sustainable fashion has a much higher price than traditional fashion. The clothing premium is seen as a barrier to sustainable consumption because consumers, even if they are willing to buy durable clothing, may not be able to keep up (for example, McNeill & Moore, 2015). Although this discovery is not new, it is interesting to note that participants who mentioned the price did not buy ‘sustainable fashion’ before and did not actively seek it. Thus, the perceived price premium is an assumption based on their reality and not a real experience. Sustainable fashion is described as ‘a little out there, different from the main groups, produced by designers, who design their ‘parts’ on the Is. Sustainable fashion is seen as a high-end phenomenon related to exclusivity and luxury, which may not be available to ordinary consumers. Similarly, these garments are not necessarily perceived as the tastes of each, which may explain why they are described as unregulated and ‘different from the main street’. So, in reality, the consumer is socially, sustainable fashion is not perceived as an alternative to the street, it is an unusual phenomenon that can be observed in the world of fashion.
Reason for choosing
Environmental issues also play a major role in the daily lives of consumers – a reality they face, but they must also manage. The consumer sums up sustainable fashion as a combination of things. You must be aware of the planet, what is happening in the environment, the factories of the world where the clothes are made and the working conditions of the people who make them. It’s a lot of consciousness and consciousness. There is another very real aspect of funding. Always feel that they are costing a lot of money doing. Only one participant was positive about the prices, explaining: ‘Do you know that you get a quality’ when buying a sustainable fashion. Thus, slow mode is associated with quality rather than quantity, which again means a higher price (Fletcher, 2010). However, the ‘locally made’ side has raised fears that UK-made garments may not be perceived as having the same quality as street sewing and are not fashionable. Although the UK has always been a center of fashion and led the industrial revolution, consumers do not trust domestic production.
What to learn? And what to hope?
Study the basic principles of sustainable fashion, and then how the concept of sustainable fashion relates to aspects of social construction. The data indicate that while there are similarities between the different realities of sustainable fashion, different aspects are not only underlined but also understood differently. Key principles include the emergence of local sources and products, transparency throughout the supply chain, traceability of work processes and ideal raw materials, ecological raw materials and social aspects, such as environmental conditions. Safe work and fair wages. The observation made is that individual principles have different levels of priority depending on the group discussing these aspects. While domestic production and local sources are a separate factor for small organizations and experts, it is less important for consumers who consider the use of environmentally friendly raw materials as a priority.