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Making Personalized Fashion Sustainable

Sustainability is a hot topic in the fashion world and with good reason. Fast fashion is killing our planet.  Your embroidery machine could help turn this trend around.

What is unsustainable about fast fashion?

The fashion industry is going through massive amounts of non-renewable oil to create plastic packaging, polyester, elastics, and polyurethane. These non-biodegradable materials are destined for landfills in a few months, where they will remain for a thousand years.

Fast fashion describes most people’s attitudes toward the apparel, shoes, and accessories they purchase today. Styles are here today, gone tomorrow, and the clothing is made cheaply with that in mind. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells us  85% of all textile products end up in landfills each year. That amounts to a garbage truck dumping a load of clothes into landfills each second.

In addition, the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, 20% of wastewater due to cotton harvest in dry areas, ruined soil due to poisonous pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, deforestation to feed pulp mills, dumps of toxic dyes into waterways, and unethical treatment of factory workers around the world. Clearly, this is unsustainable. Without changing the course of current fashion trends, we will run out of trees, clean water, and fertile soil. Ultimately, we will destroy our planet.

Fortunately, more and more people are getting the message. The buzzwords in today’s fashion sphere are slow, ethical, and sustainable. People want apparel that protects and preserves our planet. New clothing is being made in factories using renewable energy and resources. Synthetic textiles like polyester and nylon are being manufactured from recycled water bottles and fishing nets. Manufacturers are using less water by creating bamboo fabric or turning to organic cotton.

Slow and sustainable fashion is all about creating clothes responsibly and ensuring they will last for years. Even more sustainable than making new clothing, however, is the art of reviving old apparel on its way to the landfill. This is a trend personalized clothing designers can easily join in and promote.

Embroidery is a hot trend in sustainable fashion

Embroidery is taking fashion by storm in hobbies and lucrative side hustles. If you need proof, just google the terms “fashion flipping” or “thrift flipping.”.

Clothing that looks a tad plain or outdated can be snatched from the landfill with a bit of embroidery. Tasteful stitching on the shoulder or collar turns thrift store finds into Etsy treasures. With the trend toward sustainable fashion, refreshing used clothes has never been more marketable.

As you search thrift stores and yard sales for clothing rescues, consider the fabric of the items you choose. The easiest materials to restore with embroidery are medium weight and non-stretchy. Items made with linin, linin blends, canvas, cotton, and denim are always a top choice for fashion flips.

Don’t limit yourself to shirts. Other items people are restoring with embroidery include dresses, jeans, purses, hats, sweaters, and belts.

Embroidery slows down fast fashion

Instead of throwing away old jeans or shirts, people are breathing new life into them with embroidery. It can entirely cover stains or worn areas with colorful works of art.

What designs are people using to revive their garments? With a renewed focus on the environment, many are turning to nature for inspiration. Embroidered nature scenes never go out of style. Floral patterns, feather designs, and wildlife images are timeless and eye-catching.

Embroidery updates clothing with a personalized edge

Revamping plain garments gives them the edge people are craving. People are drawn to personalized items. They want to show off kitschy quotes, humorous memes, and wise words on their shirts and bags. A simple gift becomes a one-of-a-kind treasure when it is thoughtfully personalized by embroidery.

Perhaps the trend of personalized slogans on shirts and accessories stems from the lingering effects of the pandemic. People have been isolated for too long and are now finding their voice. Everyone seems to be acutely aware that life is short, and there’s no time like the present for saying what needs to be said. People want their thoughts on their clothes, and what better way to put them there than with embroidery?

Sustainable fashion is a trend you can feel good about backing with your own clothing choices, your embroidery hobby, or even your home business. For more information on the machines, equipment, and supplies you’ll need, check out our website at Ricoma.

Henry Ma

Custom apparel decoration industry leader Henry Ma is CEO of Ricoma International and Garmeo, brother companies in the manufacturing and custom apparel spaces. Featured in industry publications, such as Impressions and the Home Business Magazine, and on podcasts, including an upcoming episode on Forbes’ “Up in Your Business” with Jason Randall and the Tony DUrso Show, Ma now hosts the Apparel Academy show on YouTube and regularly contributes to Entrepreneur’s Leadership Network to share insights on building businesses, digital marketing, and social media branding.

NYU Stern School of Business graduate, Henry Ma, began his career in the finance industry with Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs. Joining the Ricoma team in 2015, Ma recently grew into the CEO role after helping the company quintuple its revenue in five years as COO. Featured in industry publications, such as Impressions Magazine and Printwear, and on podcasts, including the SocialPros podcast, Ma now hosts the Apparel Academy show on YouTube and is continuously striving to be a thought leader on entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and social media.

By Henry Ma