Sustainability in fashion is caring about people involved in the fashion supply chain, from the farmers to production, to manufacturing, to recycling. 

Sustainability, whether in materials, energy or practices, means a limited negative impact on natural resources and people. Sustainable means the products avoid depleting or contaminating the environment.

Sustainable is a combination of many factors, which include:

Sustainable fashion is a mindset where every fashion producer and clothing manufacturer needs to ask: 

what does producing clothing do to the environment regarding in terms of energy, materials, and labor?

The cheaper the clothing, the higher the chance it wasn’t made ethically or sustainably.

Let’s define sustainable according to Merriam Webster: 

 “sus·tain·a·ble| səˈstānəb(ə)l  is an adjective that means…

1 able to be maintained at a certain rate or level: sustainable fusion reactions.  • conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources.

As believers in the God of the Bible, we have a responsibility given to us to be good stewards of the earth and every living thing in it. When our clothes are not made and recycled sustainably, we all suffer.

At the intersection of biblical values and sustainability, we find creation care. Creation care is more than just environmental stewardship. We are God’s creation and our care for each other is equally as important as caring for the earth.

Through her research into Exodus, Deuteronomy and more of the Old Testament, Sandra Richter (PhD, Harvard University), says this in her book Stewards of Eden:

,…the Old Testament is deeply committed to the responsible stewardship of land and creature. (page 93)

 And this theme is continued in the New Testament. Sandra Richter continues:

…in the New Testament the garden (and the widow and the orphan and the creature) still belong to God. God still intends that the resources of this planet be utilized for his purposes. (page 104)

 In answering the question: “what is sustainability,” it’s imperative that we understand that it matters how we sustain the earth and how we care for it. As believers in Scripture, a mindset shift is required to fully identify environmental stewardship and awareness of where and how our clothes are made. This mission is not a peripheral issue. It is central to the time we live in and the redemption we all seek.

If Scripture is concerned with the environment, then perhaps it’s time to examine our thoughts and habits about what we wear through the lens of a whole heart and a full view of what God created, what we have destroyed. And let’s find opportunities to care for creation in new ways.

This is the first of many articles at the intersection of Scripture and creation care. For a fuller scriptural study of this junction, I highly recommend Dr. Richter’s books, Epic of Eden and Stewards of Eden.

For curious beginners of creation care

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