At a time when Mother Nature is taking back her rights, the textile industry generates 21 times more greenhouse gases than all international flights and maritime transport combined. Each year. Being one of the most polluting sectors in the world, fast fashion contributes to the emission of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 every year. It is an alarming situation that calls into question the way we consume.

 

How about going for eco-friendly fashion?

What does eco-friendly fashion mean? Eco-friendly is the idea of becoming responsible for our consumption to preserve the environment of our planet. It is an ever-vital necessity and a movement that has started to take centre stage in the fashion industry.

Indeed, many brands have turned to environmentally-friendly clothing using materials which, for example, require significantly less water consumption like organic cotton, hemp, and linen. Other larger chains such as Zara have begun recycling initiatives for clothing and accessories by giving them a second life in the production cycle. To avoid customers throwing old clothing into landfill or saturating charity shops, they can deposit the garments they no longer want in stores. Clothes donated to Zara’s boutique in Monaco are recycled and transformed into new fabrics to be marketed to finance non-profit associations.

Social action and second-hand shops

Cities across the globe are seeing more and more second-hand shops appearing on their streets. In countries such as the United States and Canada, non-profit organisations whose mission is professional integration amongst those who are otherwise prevented from gaining employment do so through second-hand shops. Goodwill, one of the most well-known organisations in the US, is a chain of stores that receives clothing donations and resells them at a reduced price – all while training members of the community.

In 2018, this gesture of solidarity and ecology will allow Canada to give a second life to 2.4 billion used products.

In Monaco, several organizations are helping to give a second life to clothing and provide support to people in need. Every year, the association Semeurs d’Espoir Monaco organises the “Vide Dressing Solidaire” to raise money for several local charities. People can donate clothes to an empty walk-in wardrobe which is set up for a few days in the Fontvieille shopping centre each year. For its first edition in 2016, the charity collected 9 tons of clothes in four days. On the strength of its success, the operation renews the experience every year to provide support to the most disadvantaged people in the Principality while fighting against the waste of clothes.

Upcycling and DIY

A wave of new apps is emerging thanks to this new form of mindful consumption. Some of them go beyond recycling and propose what is known as upcycling, a form of make-do-and-mend fashion. It is currently very popular amongst millennials. The idea is to transform, personalise and upgrade materials, some popular materials including curtains that are transformed into dresses and shirts.
These apps have created a space for selling clothes, others organising for clothes swaps and general information apps for those interested in environmentally friendly brands. Upcycli, an app launched in 2019 in Quebec, is an app for selling and buying, tutorials to transform your clothes and the exchange of tips within the community. It is available in countries across the globe namely Canada, Belgium, Japan, and France. Its philosophy is based on eco-responsible values to preserve the environment and democratise ethical practices.

Reusing and recycling materials
More and more designers are launching collections which are made of recycled materials. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco’s daughter, Pauline Ducruet launched her own unisex, eco-friendly fashion brand in June 2019.
Alter Designs produces environmentally-friendly garments by using second-hand materials that the designer buys and transforms. All the pieces used to make up her collection, including silk and denim, are reused.
A collection in her own image, Pauline Ducruet has always had a strong interest in the environment. She has always defended such values of which she has been able to highlight through her brand.

Many celebrities are increasingly concerned about the environment and are launching collections and brands dedicated to recycled clothing. This is the case for businesswoman Claudia Cherki, who is based in Monaco and heads the DrFit clothing brand. Her concept is based on the use of plastics recovered from the sea in clothing production. Organic cotton and plastic fibres are the main materials that the brand employs. Beyond making clothes, Cherki has also taken on the challenge of creating household linen, embroidery and uniforms to companies based in the Principality. This is an ecological concept that is increasingly being developed in the heart of Monaco.

Thanks to all the actions put in place, it is today easier than ever to respect the environment while staying in style. A certain collective awareness now allows us to more readily adopt responsible and sustainable consumption. Of course, there is still a long way to go before the fashion industry no longer generates harmful emissions. But eco-friendly fashion is gradually gaining more and more ground in the textile market. Maybe in a few years, our shopping bags will only contain environmentally friendly garments?