Luxury Fashion: For the Socialite or the Sustainable?

Over the years, environmentalist movements have pulled political stunts that take dumps all over the luxury fashion industry. And realistically, they are right to do so. Their exclusivity, their price tag, taking animal’s lives for a seasonal piece to be later forgotten – I get why some find them truly detestable. But what a lot of environmentalists fail to see is where the two forces meet.

In some cases, luxury fashion isn’t just for the social elite with peasant-level morality.

Actually, the exclusivity of luxury fashion makes its impact on the environment far less than fast fashion brands in every shopping centre across the country. For crying out loud, getting a Hermes is a like a job application process. Of course, as a vegan I wouldn’t buy real fur, real leather, cashmere or pulled wool. But these are far less available and sourced than the unethical clothes that the masses enjoy. Also, they’re made to last far longer to avoid frequent replacements – luxury fashion is about being timelessly chic, which requires much upkeep and genuine care for items, rather than the tacky exchange of light plastic for dark plastic dependent on season.

Whilst on the topic of quality, let’s discuss the high quality materials that are used in their garments in comparison to fast fashion garments. Natural fibres or blends with majority natural fibre are favoured and last years if not a lifetime. Fast fashion cuts corners with synthetic textiles like polyester and acrylic. Of course, that sounds elitist. Why should it matter what materials are used? And not everybody has the money for cashmere. But the micro plastics in synthetics are terrible for the environment. They pollute our water, show up in the digestive tracts of sea creatures, and show up in us too. 

Polyester is such a calculated criminal, but it gets away on our ignorance.

Invest in natural fibres – not all are animal fibres. You can buy pure natural fibres like cotton and partial natural fibres like viscose and rayon which are all plant-based. If you don’t care about the animal-welfare jazz as much but do still care to some extent, dead wool is not vegan but more ethical than pulled wool because it is sourced from sheep that die of natural causes rather than ones dying by slaughter. Cashmere can also be ethical, but there’s a lot of debate around this because whilst the goats aren’t harmed in the process of sourcing, they are allegedly underfed, so to some extent still being exploited. 

Luxury fashion doesn’t have to cost a person an arm and a leg like most assume. You can look put together and elevate your style by getting better quality items second hand, getting items in clothing sales, and most importantly, looking at the clothing labels. They tell you everything you need to know about the garment, and how to care for it so that it lasts long. Heck, the label might make you put it back down if you see polyester. Once you get the items, you need to take care of them. It’s not like fast fashion where you can just dispose of them. There’s an attachment because you spent more money, and they are items that you love (I hope), so you need to get the bobbles off of the jumpers, get a lint roller and steam items. 

Little things make such a difference. Little things also make you realise that luxury fashion is not the blaring bright labels plastered all over a jacket, but the joy of curating a wardrobe that you are very confident in and works for you, to the point where you don’t feel compelled to chase trends with the masses. 

(P.S. Quality over quantity my loves x)

-Pepper 

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