Let's start by understanding the current lay of the land in the fashion industry and understanding the antithesis of sustainable fashion - fast fashion.

Fast Fashion is the mass-production of cheap "on trend" clothing bought and cast aside in rapid succession as fashion trends change. This insatiable appetite for clothing has resulted in disastrous consequences to human rights, the environment and the degradation and exploitation of those most vulnerable in society. It has produced a race to the bottom in search for cheaper production of clothing.

The fashion industry is one of the world's biggest polluters and second only to oil. It's responsible for 20% of global industrial water pollution and on top of that, textile mills use 20,000 chemicals, many of them carcinogenic, to make clothes.

The average person buys 60% more items of clothing every year and keeps them for about half as long as what we used to 15 years ago - generating a huge amount of waste, most of which ends up in landfill. As much of the clothes bought today are made from synthetic material, these garments will not completely biodegrade but instead will become plastic and micro plastic waste.

The world population is expected to reach 9.2 billion in 2050 and the number of middle-class consumers is expected to triple by 2030. With increasing population growth and economic development comes an increase in consumerism. The current way of producing fashion which is resulting in significant environmental, human and animal impact cannot be sustained and we need to find alternatives in the way we produce and consume fashion.

Definition of Sustainable Fashion

Sustainable fashion is an all inclusive term and an overarching approach to production. It considers all aspects in the supply chain from the manufacturing of raw materials, the production process of the final product, the treatment of workers, impacts on the environment and animals. It calls for complete transparency and traceability of the entire process.

Why is it important?

Without a doubt we need to demand, promote, and only consume sustainable fashion. Why do I say this?

1. Creates less Waste - Globally, there’s one garbage truck of clothing waste dumped into landfill or burnt EVERY SECOND! Incredibly staggering! Fast fashion launches fads and trends each week, filled with poor quality clothing that are manufactured in environmentally devastating ways. Contrast that with sustainable fashion which aims to produce higher quality garments, using conscious materials in lower production runs.

2. Working conditions and wages are equitable - The human impact of fast fashion is devastating with workers paid wages that are unable to meet daily subsistence needs. Most fast fashion brands produce garments in developing countries where workers face poor safety and health conditions, long working hours and the constant pressure to keep up with orders. The use of child labour in the industry is rife. Sustainable fashion produces products in fair trade environments providing living wages that allow workers to pay for all their subsistence needs as well as allow for savings and discretionary income.

3. Significant reduction in pollution - Fast fashion creates significant carbon footprint with most fast fashion clothes being made from petroleum-based materials such as acrylic, nylon and polyester. These are synthetic materials that do not biodegrade and the dumping of textile waste in our landfills is a huge issue. This is in contrast to sustainable fashion that looks to utilise natural, biodegradable materials and recycled fabrics. These require far less water and energy to produce and the use of organic materials, such as organic cotton, do not use pesticides or fertilisers to grow.

4. Saves water - Current fashion practices, in particular conventional ways of growing cotton, uses an extraordinary amount of water. It's incredible to think a single, cotton t-shirt uses 2700 litres of water and a single pair of jeans can use up to 10,000 litres of water. Sustainable fashion prioritises organic materials made from linen, hemp, and organic cotton, that need little to no water during the production phase.

5. Animal welfare - The exploitation and cruel treatment of animals in the production process has been widely documented. The leather industry as well as clothing made from animals, such as wool and feathers incorporate unacceptable practices in which animals greatly suffer. Sustainable fashion includes animal welfare, protection and safety and looks to maintain the balance in our ecosystem.

Karuna Dawn is Sustainable Fashion

We are a brand that rejects the ethos of fast fashion and honour an ethical, sustainable and conscious approach to fashion. We place purpose before profit and will not compromise on our core values of Social Impact, Animal Welfare and Environmental Footprint.

Being an ethical brand, it is vital we know who is making our bags, under what conditions and the materials used in production. We know this is as important to you, as it is to us.

All our partners provide fair trade practices and a living wage.

The process of making each style of bag and who is employed in the process is published on our website.

Materials used in our bag collections are organic or made from natural grass reeds or made from re-cycled fabrics.

What's your role in all this?

It's only you, the consumer, who can create massive change, quickly. By voting with your wallet, you can demand and force fashion brands to change their practices.

1. Become aware of your choices and their impact on people, animals and the enviroment

2. If you do consume, choose ethical brands that produce and sell sustainable, vegan and cruelty free products

3. Increase the lifespan of your clothing and accessories by repairing, remaking, up-cycling, and reusing your products. Don't follow fads and trends. Choose quality over quantity

Your choice has power.