The political climate that a generation matures in always has a massive effect on what they go on to value and prioritize within society. For decades now, the deterioration of the environment has been one of the most widely discussed topics, partly due to its global impact and partly due to its exponential growth as each year passes.
As the unpredictable nature of the future draws even nearer, one word is on the minds of many: sustainability. What will sustain the younger generations in their lifetime, and then the generations to follow? This mindset has had a direct correlation to the kind of consumerism displayed by youth today, and fashion is by no means exempt.
The idea of sustainability has taken center stage in society today since global warming has become such a massive problem and threat. In order to build a world that will last centuries to come, we must live sustainably within our own lives. This is a fact that many Millennials and people of Generation Z have become accustomed to. In a consumerist nation, businesses are the axis around which our society revolves. The youth of today know that if they give these businesses power by investing in them financially, they can help to push the country in a direction that is sustainable for everyone. It makes it easier to buy really cute iPhone cases when you’re doing it with the knowledge that the provider is manufacturing them with environmental interests and sustainability in mind.
As global warming persists, natural disasters increase in frequency and strength. Unfortunately, when disaster strikes, it is always the most vulnerable communities that suffer first and most brutally.
Since the growing use of the internet, discussions about vulnerable communities have been able to happen quickly, accurately, and across widespread demographics that may not have otherwise come across such knowledge.
Having sustainable fashion means encouraging every facet of our society to be built to last, benefitting people of all backgrounds as well as reducing harm to the environment. Younger generations are becoming more aware of the injustices that permeate modern society, and in developing more sustainable fashion, it is a stepping stone to a more sustainable and equitable world.
Our younger generations are filled with hope. They are also wise, and they know that just because they want to fight against the unsustainable future that our world is currently heading in, they don’t need to compromise their interests and hobbies as they do it.
In fact, to truly live sustainably, it’s not about cutting out what jeopardizes the environment cold turkey. Instead, it’s about finding ways to adapt to a future that can persist for centuries to come.
Fashion might seem like a tangential venture when looking towards the uncertainty of the future, but in truth it has an extensive history and influence in culture. It is highly unlikely that fashion will ever go away. For that reason, younger generations are hopeful that more sustainable fashion will develop.
The younger generations are turning a lot around due to the political—and environmental—climates of their youth. They are starting to build a future in which things like fashion, technology, and consumerism as a whole can shift into something eco-friendly and safe for consistent use. Sustainable fashion is something that has already begun to develop for the betterment of our future, but it is the active encouragement of its manufacture that makes sustainability a part of everyday life. With a drive for environmental justice, younger people everywhere are emboldening a future where fashion and sustainability flourish together.
Featured image: People queuing to buy 2nd-hand outdoor clothing at a Patagonia Worn Wear pop-up store. Photo: Patagonia