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Sustainable fashion and how wellbeing extends to what we wear

It’s London Fashion Week and with it comes an opportunity to take stock of how wellbeing is inextricably linked to the increased focus on sustainable fashion, as well as the spa treatments we enjoy, the foods we eat and the exercise we do.

Clothes are such a huge part of our lives, an everyday part in fact. So with the increased global awareness around the environment and the impact our clothes have on it, they have become evermore tied up in a holistic conversation about wellbeing as well.  In short, while well fashion was once about athleisure or the best yoga pants, it’s now about a new era of sustainable, ethical, intelligent clothing.

The impact of the fashion industry on the environment has become increasingly well documented, accelerating the need for different fabrics, different manufacturing practices and a different approach.

New materials for sustainable fashion and universal wellbeing

The days of fast fashion are being pushed aside in favour of more sustainable fashion - both in terms of longer lasting items, as well as new materials. Brands like Davy J have introduced swimwear made from regenerated nylon yard recycled from fishing nets and retrieved from the ocean.  Planet Warrior creates active wear made from recycled plastic bottles. 

Even spa uniform designers like Fashionizer are making eco friendly choices like introducing sustainable fabrics that reduce waste and recycle materials like plastic. Then there’s the development of more sustainable materials right up to clothes made of algae, mushrooms and crop waste.

Predictions for a greater wellness approach to what we wear

Despite all this, clothing production has doubled in the last 15 years alone, and we now produce around 80 billion pieces of clothing worldwide, each year.It’s estimated that only 1% of clothing material is ever recycled, creating 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and dumping 20% of all global wastewater. If nothing changes, it is said that the fashion industry will use up more than 25% of the world’s entire carbon budget by 2050.

And so it is that there is increasing pressure to address what the Global Wellness Summit termed ‘well fashion’. Predictions for a greater wellness approach to what we wear include the following:

Individuals are making a difference to sustainable wellbeing

Of course, central to the whole thing is a mindset change, and in many ways that appears to be being lead by consumers. A 2018 JWT Intelligence survey found that 90+ % of global consumers are trying to live more sustainably. Also, a recent Ipsos MORI/Fashion Revolution poll of Europeans found that consumers now demand to know more about the environmental/social impact of the clothes, shoes and accessories they buy. In general there are indicators that Gen Z in particular are more conscious about looking for sustainable credentials in the products and experiences that they buy, and that is having an impact on markets as a whole, which is exciting to see.

In the spa world, we are seeing sustainability rise to the top of the agenda in a variety of ways. Skincare products have been making steps towards sustainable and ethical production for a long time, and spas themselves are looking at their infrastructure to improve eco friendly practices.

For example, The Salthouse Hotel in Ireland has a negative carbon footprint and the Sustainable Spa Association has launched to both celebrate and support spas in introducing sustainable practices. Naturally, there’s still more to be done, but it is wonderful to see steps being made, from what we wear to how we enjoy our leisure time, because ultimately, well fashion has an impact on our wellbeing that goes beyond our spa days and stretches into our collective health.


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