Everyone is talking about sustainability in fashion but what does this mean?
Posted on February 20 2019
From landfill to natural fabrics, social responsibility to biofuels, ‘sustainability’ in hospitality covers a multitude of sins. What does it mean for spa uniforms and how can you navigate those eco friendly waters to make informed choices that have a positive impact on your staff, clients and the business as a whole?
The gold standard for sustainability in hospitality is set by the likes of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and Blue Lagoon, both of whom we work with at Fashionizer. These brands focused on eco-hospitality have made conscious commitments about everything from green energy to giving back to the local community, and in doing so have proven that luxury and sustainability can add value whilst improving planet health.
But what if you’re a spa manager wanting to make a difference, where do you start? The abundance of information surrounding the subject can be confusing and contradictory. When placed against the demands of budgets, comfort, movement, presentability and style, it can be overwhelming.
So, here’s what you need to know to make a difference
Will your choice of spa uniforms really impact? In reality, every small decision makes a difference, and including sustainability as a consideration in your purchasing decisions will eventually make an impact.
How to evaluate the lifecycle of textiles?
Sustainability is about the whole lifecycle. It turns out that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, with 300,000 tonnes of clothing either incinerated or sent to landfill every year. So, making the right choices, even small ones, is important
- How Fibers are grown affects their credentials: depending of the amount of water consumed and the amount of insecticides and pesticides used in the process. For example: cotton, according to WWF, it takes more than 20,000 liters (5,283 gallons) of water to produce just one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cotton, which roughly equals one T-shirt and a pair of jeans. Cotton also consumes around 16% of the world's insecticides and 7% of pesticides. Which is why we at Fashionizer spa opt for organic cotton which uses 71% less water, 62% less energy and doesn't damage the soil.
- How yarns are processed: Is another consideration, toxic chemicals are often used in the processing of a variety of yarns, which have an impact on the air and the environment when they're washed away.
- How fabrics travel: The carbon footprint of each fabric varies depending on where it's grown and where it's processed. For instance, linen is a very sustainable fabric in the way it’s grown and processed, but its carbon footprint is often high. As a fibre grown in Northern Europe (where 90% of the world’s linen is grown) it is often spun in China and then returns to Europe for weaving.
- The ethics of the supply chain: Sustainability is also about the working practices and conditions in the factories along the supply chain. Do they adhere to ethical working practices, free labour and decent working conditions?
- The lifespan of the garments: As we work to move away from a culture of cheap throwaway fashion, the durability of garments becomes increasingly important.
- How fabrics can be disposed of: Your choice of fabric will determine what happens to it once you’ve finished with it. Whether you can recycle it, upcycle it, or if it will biodegrade safely without damaging the environment.
Intimidating as this list may sound, there isn’t just one way to achieve planet friendly habits when it comes to clothing and being mindful of the choices you make.
At Fashionizer Spa, responsible choices have been part of the business for more than 10 years. We chose to manufacture in Europe because of the transparent supply chain and assurances around quality, labor practices and ethical standards.
Making decisions about sustainable fashion consciously allows you to find the best way to achieve the best results you and your business.
So what is the price of sustainability?
It’s red alert for climate change and this means we will have to change our habits as well. For a long time fashion & uniform purchases have been focused on and driven by price points. We are still living in a world of fast fashion, but as awareness grows the direction is changing. Today the UK government is also looking to force change via a clothing tax. Such actions are only likely to increase over time, although at the moment they seem very timid.
The reality is that in the short-term sustainable uniform choices may cost you a little bit more, but the durability of the product and the benefits you get from being part of this change can make a meaningful difference both to your customers and to the world around you.
We would be interested to learn about your view on this topic. Leave your comment below to tell us about sustainable practises in your business.