Yoga often sets us on a path of awareness. We become aware of our breath, of our emotions and of the way we consume. Slow living and slow food have become movements. But are we as aware of the clothes we buy?
Textiles is now the second most polluting industry out there, beat only by the oil sector. And it is not just impacting our planet, but is also affecting the air we breathe and water we drink. The fashion carbon footprint is tremendous. There is the pesticides used in cotton farming; conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop. There is runoff from the toxic dyes used in manufacturing. The huge amounts of water used in fabric production, a single T-shirt requires over 3000L of water to create. The manufacture of manmade materials such as polyester and nylon involves large amounts of crude oil, which releases dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere, including acidic gases such as hydrogen chloride. As a result, the fashion industry is contributing to climate change and to damage of our natural resources. The current unsustainable practices in fashion have to be redesigned.
Slow Fashion represents all things “eco”, “ethical” and “green” in one unified movement.
Carl Honoré, author of “In Praise of Slowness”, says that the ‘slow approach’ intervenes as a revolutionary process in the contemporary world because it encourages taking time to ensure quality production, to give value to the product, and contemplate the connection with the environment.
The nonprofit Sustainable Technology Education Project (STEP) defines eco-fashions as clothes “that take into account the environment, the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry.” Clothes and accessories that meet such criteria are usually made using organic raw materials, such as cotton grown without pesticides, bamboo, silk, or re-used materials such as recycled plastic from old soda bottles. Eco-fashions do not involve the use of harmful chemicals and bleaches to color fabrics. Fabric patterns are designed to minimize cutting waste. Sustainable fashion also needs to be made by people earning fair wages in healthy working conditions.
Forget everything you know about yoga wear, this is a new breed of yoga fashion that is more sophisticated and more eco conscious. You can now find yoga clothing made with organic cotton, silk and bamboo. Leggings can be created with fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled fishing nets.
Recycled plastic water bottles or PET can be turned into polyester fabric, but this is not your grandma’s polyester. Grandma’s polyester is shiny and slippery and is made from petroleum and contributes to increased global warming. Recycled PET polyester reduces our dependence on petroleum as raw material and reduces landfill. Using recycled polyester saves plastic bottles from landfill.
The PET bottles are dried and crushed into small chips. Which are then heated and passed through a spinneret to form strings of yarn. The fibre goes through a crimping machine to create a fluffy wooly textured yarn. The yarn is then baled, dyed and knitted into polyester fabric. Converting PET into recycled polyester requites 33-53% less energy then producing regular polyester. By purchasing an item made from recycled material you are helping to lessen the impact on our earth. These products require less energy, use less water and emit less greenhouse gases.
Fishing nets and ghost nets can be regenerated into nylon yarns and spun into new garments. Waste can now be thought of as a resource. Recycled textiles will become more commonplace in the years ahead.
Yoga brings an awareness of the connection to others and the environment. It’s about living a life that is true and honest to all of our other principles and beliefs.
As Marci Zaroff says, “This is a lifestyle choice. Once you start thinking about what you’re buying and using wearing and eating, you don’t go backwards- you want to keep going forward.“ There is a different level of awareness around being a conscious consumer.... they’re looking for things that make them look good as well as feel good”.
Photo from @secrets.of.happiness