Sustainability in the African Fashion Industry
Recently, the world has begun to pay a lot of attention to the process our clothing and apparel go through; More questions are being asked The younger generation are more particular about this topic because of concerns about what happens to our planet in the near future if we continue with unsustainable practices at scale.
Since the early 2000s, businesses and companies from a wide range of industries have been pushing for environmental sustainability. Natural resources have long been used to meet the energy and raw material demands of businesses and industries. While continual industrialization has resulted in a massive increase in capital outflows in the fashion industry, it is important that we safeguard the environment while serving humanity.
Not to overwhelm you, the fashion industry has grown big and as such produced a lot of wears which in the long run contribute to global waste.
How can we safeguard the fashion industry's long-term viability? How can we change the perception that fashion is "today's world's greatest polluter"?
- Authentic Materials - Major corporations attempt to boost profits by employing extremely low-cost materials like artificial dyes, polyester, and other synthetic materials that are both hazardous to the environment and to humans. We should opt for natural colours and products that benefit both us and the environment, such as those that include at least 95% certified organic components.
- Reducing Waste - According to climate research conducted by Columbia University, an estimated 53 million metric tons of clothing are thrown each year and end up in landfills or the ocean. Due to a vast pile of garments that cannot be reused or sold, Ghana, is the West African nation and leading market for used clothing. The majority of these garments are dyed with synthetic hues, which deteriorate in weeks or months and are therefore unsustainable. The advanced synthetic chemical can take up to centuries to break down, thereby producing methane in society. Fashion houses can help reduce waste by producing recyclable products with natural resources that aren’t harmful to the environment. They also can invest in new technologies such as 3D printing and virtual sampling to minimize trial and error thereby reducing waste on materials.
- Workers should be fairly paid - Clothing that is cheap, affordable, and pricey are all made in nations with lax rules. The majority of these labourers in these countries are underpaid, overworked, and subjected to hazardous or health-related situations; many are minors. African Fashion companies or conglomerates should be fair in their international partnerships by ensuring that federal, state, and municipal rules are followed. Workers should be paid a livable wage, provided breaks, eligible for bonuses, overtime pay, insurance, and paid sick and vacation time regardless of the country.
fashion businesses should raise consumer awareness for their items. It should include the concept of wasteful purchasing or impulse shopping, which leads to further waste.
Apart from these, the need for transparency, in order to ensure fashion sustainability and realize a cyclical fashion industry, it is necessary to be able to track all the elements of the product from the use of the product to the life of the product, the materials used, the chemicals added, the production practices, and the social and environmental conditions in which it was created. Transparency is also important because consumers can find out when businesses exaggerate their sustainability efforts.
Finally, the African fashion industry is still growing. It is at its best to avoid making non-sustainable and unethical fashion. We can be more intentional about our products and how they are being gotten.