50% more people are googling sustainable fashion than they were this time last year. With the fashion industry using up more C02 than international flights and shipping and being ranked the second largest consumer of the global water supply, it's no wonder that consumers are calling for change and looking towards sustainable fashion. But is it too little too late? 


Fast Fashion is an Addiction

When I was in my early twenties I was tragically sucked into the on-trend demands of the fashion industry. I hadn't even come across the term sustainable fashion. Instead of following the masses, I jumped on to a trend as soon as it hit the shelves. Eyeing off what was in Vogue and Oyster magazines I prided myself on being above fashion and its influences because I wore it first. Oh boy, how wrong I was. This spiral of fashion addiction saw my credit card maxed out before I was even 20, the buzz and "sugar rush" feeling of spending money on new acquisitions did nothing for my mental health, my self worth or my bank balance. But worst of all, I did not consider the environment once, not even a little bit. Sustainable fashion was not on my radar. Sad, I know, 


It wasn't until I became a parent that I changed my ways. Parenthood can do this to you. And the good news is I am not alone in this transformation to a more sustainable existence which includes choosing sustainable fashion.

A crowded clothing manufacture factory in India full of people working on sewing machines.
Image from Wikipedia​​

Sustainable Fashion is in Demand and On Trend

We are seeing fashion houses adopting a greener approach and embracing sustainable fashion. Granted a lot of it is greenwashing which is disappointing, they know consumers are wanting more and some are playing the green card without authentically being green. But more and more are leading with integrity, and it seems to be the smaller designers who are leading the way. 

 

In the Abbie James boutique we stock sustainable fashion. Independent sustainable brands, brands that are heart-led and use sustainable fabrics and old-school manufacturing techniques. But it isn't just the designers in the AJ boutique that are leading the way. It's the customers. I have lost count of the amount of times we have been asked "what fabric is this made from" or "is this locally made?" A lot of people simply ask "what makes this garment sustainable?" It's questions like this that keep a business moving forward in its sustainability journey. These questions make me want to be a better business owner, to do my customers proud. 


The Consumer has the Power to Reverse Climate Change

We vote with our money, and the ongoing trend is that there is an increase in our money voting for sustainable fashion. We still have a long, a very, very long way to go. But our vote is working, there is momentum, and there is change happening, not just in sustainable fashion but in consumerism in general.

 

The question I posed earlier, is it too little too late is an important question to ask. The good news is that we have the technology to reverse climate change. It is now up to you as a consumer to demand that this technology is used by asking uncomfortable questions and keeping business owners like me accountable and demanding authentic sustainable fashion.

Abbie James is a sustainable fashion designer based in Melbourne, Australia. She is creative director of sustainable brand, Abbie James, and is a passionate campaigner against fast fashion.