The fashion industry should be evaluated not just on the main element of a product, which is the fabric. We should not forget the importance of accessories. Many luxury brands prefer to use mother of pearl buttons as a natural resource but still, it is harmful to the wildlife or some brands just use plastic buttons. Besides, every garment carries a care label or an etiquette. 99% of the time they are made from nylon and even though they are small pieces, they make a significant impact in millions of garments. So, we should not solely focus on the cotton farms or viscose trees, but also on the small details that make a product.
Nowadays, many brands can easily announce that they are 'Sustainable Fashion' brands. However, there is a huge gap that is forgotten about the textile processes. Crucial steps are taken in terms of regulation, protection and humanity. Hence, eco-friendly materials are more affordable and accessible than ever before. Although, I am still observing some brands claiming 'sustainability' by putting 100% Conventional Cotton, 90% Cotton 10% Elastane or 90% Modal-Viscose 10%Spandex. Firstly, using regular cotton is not enough and as known, there should be certificates demonstrating organic standards and social rights. Whilst, such certificates should be in all of the collection made or else it is not sustainable nor eco-friendly branding. The latter is a real sensitive topic that many do not understand. Fabric mills are like mothers' womb and of an apparel product, considering that yarns are the DNA's. Even though organic materials are used in fabrics, when they have blended with synthetic yarns the DNA or the construct of the fabric changes. So, the outcome is neither organic nor biodegradable. I am sharing a link presenting which materials to avoid and which to look forward to.
'Greenwashing' is a crucial concept that everyone must understand. Buying organic cotton trademark is absolutely a good start for farmers well-being, environmental benefits for the soil and efficient clean water usage. However, 'organic' means a necessity for humongous areas of farmlands and more water usage compared to conventional methods. Yet, there is still the big 'dyeing' problem of fashion which still mostly includes intensive chemical processes.
So, we shouldn't solely focus on new ways of processing cotton but also seek new alternatives and create demand for those. A remarkable example is Kapok which is a material that complements cotton yarns and improves sustainability. I am also sharing some images for you to understand better.