What does sustainable fashion mean?

What does sustainable fashion mean?

Posted by Malaika Haaning on

 Sustainable fashion is a way for the fashion industry to lessen its footprint but you have to be careful. A fashion company can brand themselves on being sustainable but that doesn't mean that all of their clothing is. It can be a percentage of their clothing line where they eg. used organic cotton or recycled fabric. Sustainability depends on their vision and goal so you should do some research before accepting that the brand is sustainable. 


95% of all fashion brands that claim themselves sustainable get away with it by using some kind of sustainable material in their collections but maybe 95% of their collection is based on non-sustainable materials and practices. 


99.9% of all sustainable fashion brands only look at the material. You can find so many brands that create their collections of sustainable materials but then they forget about the waste they are leaving behind. All fashion brands except zero-waste brands throw 20-30%of materials into landfill for each style they make so even if they use sustainable materials their cutting scraps still ends up in landfills all over the world. Just to give you an example in 2018 in the USA 17 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills. This is not only cutting scarps but the total of textile waste including second-hand clothing that either hasn't been donated or is too damaged to wear again. 



Main factors of sustainability


A way to create a garment without or limited waste. Zero waste is the staple at Malaika New York and it is also the most advanced form for sustainability you can look for. Our first focus is the waste before even designing the garment. 


Sustainable Material

Organic cotton, recycled fabric, linen, Tencel, renewable cork, plastic bottles, fishing nets, old carpets, bike tubes, truck tire inner tubes you name it we do it all here at Malaika New York!


Fair labor

The worker is paid a fair wage, the working conditions are good, no child labor. We get our collections sewn locally to make sure.

The majority of companies get them produced overseas to save cost this limits their visibility as many overseas companies subcontract to smaller companies that don't live up to the standards.



Cutting scraps. Whenever possible we use our cutting scarps in our new collections, donate them to students or quilting societies 

Most companies just throw them out and they land up in landfills. 



Packaging material

Look for companies that don't use plastic packaging. We use compostable packaging that you can put in your compost: our packaging is made from old food waste. 



Overseas production requires a lot of CO2 use compared to companies that produce locally. 


In house sampling

We don't burn any CO2 in order for the samples to be made. Companies that produce overseas may ship one style 8-10 times before they are satisfied with the end result. 


Overseas production

The companies don't have the same access to the factories as someone producing locally would have. They can't control outsourcing to smaller companies that don't follow fair labor standards.



Companies that don't use animal products in their collections. We use wool as we haven't been able to find a similar material of the same quality. We want to make sure that our product's end cycle is decades away. 


 I know this is a lot of information to take in and I am sure you don't know where to start so just pick the factors above that means the most to you and go from there. 

I hope this helped you to get an insight of what sustainable fashion mean.

Thanks for reading!

X, M



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