Editorial

Is sustainable fashion the new norm?

sustainable clothes on rack
Sustainable fashion is slowly becoming part of everyday consumerism. Source: Pexels (via Pixabay)
The tide is changing when it comes to fashion, and consumers are being more cautious about the decisions they are making when shopping.

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

Since the Sunday Times’ investigation in July, which uncovered that workers for the clothing brand Boohoo in Leicester were being paid as little as £3.50 an hour, a discussion about sustainable fashion has begun online.

For many young people, the conversation began a long while ago. Sustainability in fashion has been a longstanding issue, with companies having been called out for their use of sweatshops for years.

But for many, the Sunday Times’ exposé of Boohoo was the turning point.

Many of us have turned to online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, but more recently, there has been a trend of brands offering sustainable fashion. Online websites such as ASOS and H&M now include a drop-down section where it’s possible to select clothing that is made ethically, recycled, and environmentally responsible.

The rise in climate activism is no doubt a factor as to why many young people have turned to sustainable fashion and shopping ethically.

The clothing industry has one of the highest impacts on the planet; water usage, chemical pollution from dyeing, and disposing of unsold clothing in landfill sites and incineration creates an incredibly hazardous impact on the environment.

According to a House of Commons report on the sustainability of the fashion industry, the UK WRAP estimated that around £140 million worth of clothing goes to landfill every year, with items on average only being worn around 7 times. 

Yet, some fashion brands still aren’t doing enough to ensure their products are created ethically. Although September 2015 saw a global agreement at the United Nations to implement seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, fast fashion, and unethically sourced materials continue to be a big issue amongst UK retailers.

A 2016 report found that of the seventy-one leading retailers within the UK, 77% were believed to have a likelihood of modern slavery occurring at some stage within their supply chains. Many of the workers work up to six or seven days a week, serving long hours and often being so physically exhausted that they are unable to continue the work past their 30s.

For the youth of today, those kinds of figures have meant an increase in sales by charity shops, and a boost in the use of the app Depop, where many sell their pre-owned clothing.

Climate activism has been mostly driven by the younger generation, and for many, there has been a call for more options within sustainable fashion.

Two sisters from Cardiff even took to making their own sustainable clothing brand, Clecs, over the period of lockdown. 

Worried about the environmental impact fast fashion has on the world, Imogen and Bea Riley tried their hand at making a sustainable fashion brand, selling t-shirts and jumpers which are ethically sourced, and therefore ensures fair trade.

Within days of releasing their jumpers, the items sold out in numerous sizes, proving that their audience – young adults – are eager to see sustainability amongst up-and-coming brands.

Coronavirus has been an opportunity to expose cracks in the system; with time to reflect, many have been more cautious about what it is they’re buying into when it comes to the fashion industry. Although low prices and sales are selling points for online fashion brands, COVID-19 and the rise in climate activism has given many the opportunity to research the ethics of the brands they once favoured.

Sustainable fashion still presides on the higher end of the market, which can often lead many to stray away from ethical brands. Brands that offer lower priced items are often those that many shop with.

It’s unfortunate, therefore, that the brands many flock to are the same companies that employ under-payed and overworked garment workers. Yet, perhaps that’s why consumers have turned to ethically sourced sustainable fashion – to buck the trend. 

The tide is changing when it comes to fashion, and consumers are being more cautious when it comes to the decisions they are making when shopping.

As sustainable fashion becomes more accessible, with high street brands like H&M, Zara, Monki, and Marks & Spencer taking further steps to ensure more ethical trading, sustainable fashion could soon become the norm.


Ers i’r Sunday Times cyhoeddi ymchwiliad ym mis Gorffennaf, a wnaeth datgan bod gweithwyr i’r cwmni dillad Boohoo yn cael eu talu tua £3.50 yr awr, dechreuodd trafodaeth am ffasiwn gynaliadwy ar lein.

I nifer o bobl ifanc, ddim trafodaeth ddiweddar oedd hyn. Mae cynaliadwyedd yn ffasiwn wedi bod yn broblem fawr am nifer o flynyddoedd, gyda chwmnïoedd mawr wedi’i beirniadu am eu defnydd o weithdy cyflog isel am gyfnod hir.

Ond i nifer, ymchwiliad y Times am Boohoo oedd y trobwynt.

Mae nifer ohonom wedi bod yn prynu nwyddau ar lein ers dechrau’r cyfnod clo, ond yn ddiweddar, bu nifer o gwmnïau ddillad yn cynnwys opsiynau cynaliadwy. Gwefannau ar-lein megis ASOS a H&M yn benodol sydd wedi sicrhau bod modd dewis adran gynaliadwy, i sicrhau bod cwsmeriaid yn gallu prynu dillad sydd wedi’u creu gyda nwyddau wedi’u hailgylchu.

Y galw am wella’r amgylchedd, mae’n siŵr, yw un o’r rhesymau pam bod pobl ifanc yn edrych am opsiynau mwy cynaliadwy.

Y diwydiant ffasiwn yw un o’r diwylliannau gyda’r effaith fwyaf ar yr amgylchedd.

Yn ôl ymchwiliad gan Dŷ’r Gyffredin am gynaliadwyedd y diwydiant ffasiwn ym Mhrydain, bu’r UK WRAP yn amcangyfrif bod gwerth tua £140 miliwn o ddillad yn cael eu cymryd i adrannau tirlenwi’n flynyddol.

Ond, nid yw nifer o gwmnïoedd fasiwn yn wneud digon i sicrhau bod eu cynnyrch wedi’u creu mewn ffordd foesegol. Er bu cytundeb gan y Cenhedloedd Unedig yn 2015 yn gofyn bod gwledydd yn gweithredu nodau cynaliadwy, mae ffasiwn gyflym dal yn broblem fawr yn y DU.

Dengys ymchwiliad 2016 fod, o saith-deg-un brif adwerthwr yn y Deyrnas Unedig, roedd 77% yn debygol o gael rhyw fath o gaethwasiaeth modern yn rhan o’r cynhyrchiad. Mae nifer o’r gweithwyr yn gweithio o leiaf 6 neu 7 diwrnod yr wythnos, yn gweithio tan oriau mân y bore, ac fel arfer mor flinedig bod nhw methu gweithio heibio’u 30au.

I’r ifanc, mae’r ffigurau fel hyn wedi golygu cynnydd yn werthiant yn siopau elusen, a fwy o ddefnydd o’r app Depop, lle bod nifer yn gwerthu eu hen ddillad.

Bu dwy chwaer o Gaerdydd hyd yn oed yn creu cwmni dillad cynaliadwy ei hunain, Clecs, dros y cyfnod clo.

Yn poeni am effaith y diwydiant ffasiwn ar yr amgylchedd, dechreuodd Imogen a Bea Riley brand dillad cynaliadwy ei hun, yn gwerthu crysau-t a siwmperi sydd wedi’i greu yn y ffordd fwyaf caredig i’r amgylchedd.

O fewn diwrnodau o greu ei brand, werthwyd bron pob un eitem, yn profi bod ei gynulleidfa – pobl ifanc – yn awyddus i weld cynaliadwyedd yn frandiau newydd.

Coronafeirws sydd wedi bod yn gyfle i nifer ailfeddwl am eu harferion siopa, ac yn meddwl eto am y fath o frandiau eu bod yn rhoi eu harian iddynt. Er bod prisoedd isel yn denu defnyddwyr, mae COVID-19 a’r galw am wella’r amgylchedd wedi cynnig y cyfle i nifer ymchwilio i foeseg y brandiau y maent yn prynu dillad wrthynt.

Mae dillad cynaliadwy dal i fod yn fwy costus, sy’n aml yn stopio nifer rhag prynu’n gynaliadwy, ac yn hytrach yn parhau i brynu o frandiau nad yw’n foesegol.

Anffodus yw hi, felly, bod y brandiau mae nifer yn prynu dillad oddi wrthynt dal i gyflogi gweithwyr sy’n gweithio dros amser ac yn cael ei dalu’n llai na ddylen nhw. Ond, efallai mai dyna pam bod nifer yn troi at brynu dillad cynaliadwy – er mwyn stopio’r brandiau yma rhag ecsbloetio’i weithwyr.

Mae newidiadau’n digwydd yn ffasiwn ar hyn o’r bryd, ac mae defnyddwyr yn ceisio fod yn fwy gofalus wrth wneud penderfyniadau wrth siopa.

Wrth i ffasiwn gynaliadwy dod yn fwy hygyrch, megis brandiau fel H&M, Monki, Zara a Marks & Spencer yn gweithio i sicrhau fwy o fasnachu moesegol, gall ffasiwn gynaliadwy fod yr arfer i nifer ohonom ni.

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