Sustainable fashion refers to the growing sector of companies and manufacturers concerned with reducing wasteful practices and designing more environmentally friendly clothing within the fashion industry. Sustainable fashion can also be defined as clothing, shoes, and accessories that are created, marketed and consumed in the most sustainable manner available, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, making fashion more sustainable requires a complete overhaul of multiple aspects within the industry, including the improvement of all stages of a product's life cycle. This includes design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing, and final sale to use, reuse, repair, remake, and recycle the clothing product as well as its components.
Traditional fashion industry practices have been viewed as having a significant effect on climate change. According to a 2020 BBC article on sustainable fashion, the fashion industry accounts for 10% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions from human activity and nearly 20% of the world's wastewater. This is due to the complexity of clothing supply chains, as well as wasteful practices by consumers. While most consumer goods suffer from similar issues, critics of the fashion industry point to fast fashion—the demand that is made for consumers to stay with fashion trends—leading to the disposal of last season's trendy item in favor of a quickly manufactured and popular new fashion item. Fast fashion critics say this attitude leads to more recurring wasteful practices.
Companies have found numerous ways to begin implementing more sustainable methods into the fashion industry. One of the most prominent methods has been to invest in low-impact environmentally friendly fabrics in an effort to cut down on carbon emissions. Additionally, changes to supply chain practices are also viewed as an integral initiative in combatting fashion waste.