“The fashion industry is a huge contributor to climate change and pollution. It’s not just environmental damages that are increasing as the industry grows; there are social and ethical concerns to challenge too.” – Designers Consociate
Climate change is real! Unfortunately, the fashion industry is not helping by contributing 2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas, making up 10% of global carbon emissions.
This is why we advocate for sustainability in all areas of our lives, from travel to fashion and holistic wellness. We often talk about the different ways through which we can make sustainable fashion choices and take note of brands with sustainability as their ethos. However, there are many more hands-on ways to get involved in the sustainability conversion and make a difference in the fashion industry.
“Supporting sustainability becomes critical in the face of the undeniable impact of our damaging practices, as shown by the rising climate change catastrophe.” – Oghenetejiri Ogberekare
The expanding landscape of sustainable fashion
Some people think sustainability is just a thing in the West. But with the Nigerian fashion scene picking up speed, we must consider its environmental impact. Our fashion industry is all about creativity and diversity, and it’s remarkable how it’s embracing sustainability discussions. To keep this conversation going strong, we must figure out how to weave sustainability into every step, from making the clothes to selling them. How do we do that, you ask? Well, one way is by checking out careers in sustainable fashion.
Sustainable Career Options
When we talk about a “career in fashion,” the typical image that comes to mind is designing and sewing, but there’s much more to it, especially in sustainability. Sustainable fashion is the way forward, and designers are embracing eco-friendly and sustainable practices. What’s exciting is that this is an ever-evolving journey. The sustainable fashion movement is gaining momentum, and plenty of professional opportunities are emerging for those with a passion for fashion and a desire to impact the planet positively. Here are some intriguing career paths you can explore in sustainable fashion.
3D fashion design
Are you already tech-savvy or artistically inclined? Consider a career as a 3D fashion designer, the epitome of blending technology and sustainability. Using 3D modelling software, they craft eco-friendly clothing and accessories digitally. Beyond that, they actively seek sustainable materials, collaborate with eco-conscious suppliers, and lead the charge in making fashion greener. They’re the pioneers who fuse eco-friendliness with cutting-edge fashion, urging everyone to embrace sustainability. Just like Idiat Shiole, who started her career in 2018 and is now creating designs for Meta, Adidas and many other fashion brands, you too can start a career in 3D fashion design and aim for the stars.
If you have a knack for sewing or shoemaking, consider a career in upcycling. These artisans breathe new life into discarded items, taking the old and making it fabulous. Brands like Nkwo exemplify upcycling, turning old denim and fabric into chic handbags, shoes, and clothing. Their work isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s an environmental statement. Upcycling artisans champion sustainability by reimagining materials, showing you can be creative and eco-friendly simultaneously.
Sustainability consultants are the eco-savvy guides helping businesses and organisations go green. Their expertise steers companies towards more significant environmental and social responsibility. From slashing energy use to fostering eco-friendly operations, sustainability consultants are equipped with all the strategies to enhance our world. Individuals like Zara Odu and Omoyemi Akerele have made it their mission to minimise waste and champion ethical business. These consultants ensure companies don’t just pay lip service but take tangible steps to be planet-friendly. Behind the scenes, they’re the driving force for a more sustainable and eco-conscious future.
Ethical sourcing specialist
Ethical sourcing specialists are the conscientious guardians of our consumption, committed to preventing the exploitation of people and the environment in the products we purchase. They act as ethical detectives within the business world, meticulously vetting suppliers who uphold fair labour practices and environmental responsibility. Their core objective is to ensure that every facet of the production process, from material sourcing to manufacturing, aligns with ethical and sustainable standards. These experts bridge the gap between commerce and ethics, striving to make each purchase contribute to a more equitable, just, and sustainable global landscape, benefiting consumers and the communities and ecosystems from which these products originate.
From paper bags to reusable shopping bags, eco-friendly packaging leans into the essence of ensuring your goodies get to you in a way that’s kind to the planet. Think about those nifty boxes made from recycled materials or those cute biodegradable bags that break down without a trace.
People involved in eco-friendly packaging go the extra length to find ways to cut down on waste and reduce the carbon footprint of shipping. They introduce innovative materials and clever designs that keep your packages snug and secure without harming the environment. Their creative solutions show us that we can have our deliveries and be eco-conscious too.
How do you start?
If you’re wondering how to embark on a sustainable fashion career, these essential tips are your ideal starting point.
- Educate yourself: Knowledge is power! Get the lowdown on the sustainable fashion career you’re interested in and properly educate yourself on what you’re getting into. If you already have an advanced degree, study how you can utilise your education to create an impact in sustainable fashion.
- Do your research: Dive deep into the world of sustainable fashion. Get to know the brands and the people already involved in the career of your choice and study their journey to see what you can replicate and what mistakes you should avoid.
- Network: Don’t forget to get out there and network. Rub shoulders with people in the sustainable career paths you intend to explore. Attend those fashion events centred around sustainability, mingle with people, and who knows? You might find your way in through those connections.
- Volunteer: Offer to help out at sustainable fashion workshops or events. Not only will you learn a ton, but you’ll also show your passion for the cause. It’s all about getting your foot in the door.
- Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset: Unleash your creativity and pioneer fresh, trendsetting ideas to elevate the coolness of sustainable fashion. Who knows, you could be the eco-fashion world’s next big sensation!
Sustainable fashion isn’t just about rocking a great look; it’s about rocking it with a clear conscience. And guess what? Nigerian brands are leading the way in making fashion more ethical and eco-friendly. By jumping on board with a sustainable fashion career, you can join this awesome movement. You’ll be right in the thick of an industry that’s all about blending style with a lot of substance, and you’ll be helping shape the future of fashion, not just in Nigeria but everywhere. So, if you’re passionate about fashion and itching to make a real difference, why not consider a sustainable fashion gig with Nigerian brands?