The word 'sustainable' isn't a particularly new one. People have been carrying reusable shopping bags and drinking from eco-friendly coffee cups for years now. In fashion, the idea of using environmentally sustainable and socially responsible processes is a growing design philosophy - with new technologies and processes being implemented by designers and brands alike to ensure that the world and its resources are stabilised. This conscious mindset was a key theme at this year's Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, which celebrated fashion innovation and social sustainability, calling upon Aussie label Ginger & Smart to present their A/W '18 collection at The Virgin Australia Grand Showcase.

"Ginger & Smart is committed to socially responsible business initiatives all along the supply chain," VAMFF CEO Graeme Lewsey explained in a statement. "This focus on responsible innovation is a key theme of The Festival in 2018; innovation that is sympathetic to our humanity and our environment yet still tolerant of speed-to-market necessities and the economics of a global stage."

Ginger & Smart A/W '18 backstage at VAMFF

With all things sustainable in mind, Buro 24/7 chatted to Genevieve and Alexandra Smart from Ginger & Smart about the importance of educating the consumer and new innovative technologies that are changing the landscape of fashion for the better.

What processes do Ginger & Smart use to ensure the brand remains sustainable?

There are so many moving parts in our business from design to manufacturing and retail. We focus on trying to make the best conscious and sustainable decision at every stage of development and encourage our team to also think and plan ahead. We're always researching sustainable practices and incorporating them into our business from sourcing materials to our energy consumption and store fit outs.

Ginger & Smart A/W '18 backstage at VAMFF

How is technology changing fashion for the better?

Technology in fabric is advancing rapidly. At Premiere Vision in Paris there's a growing focus on sustainability with some exciting developments. Designers are now able to access fabrics manufactured with minimal waste and reduced chemical use more easily than ever. The concept of forever pieces in customer's wardrobes encourages considered quality purchasing to ensure longevity. Perhaps consumers will look for fashion that celebrates their individual style rather than following generic trends with disposable fashion.

Why is it so important to educate customers and consumers about sustainable fashion practices?

The advancement in technology is in part due to designers working with fabric suppliers to develop sustainable fabrics in response to consumer demands. The customer has the power to influence great change every time they purchase, so it's critical that they make an informed decision and use their purchasing power for good.

Ginger & Smart A/W '18 VAMFF Grand Showcase

Do you think fast fashion will soon be a thing of the past?

There is already a shift to quality over quantity... but there will always be some elements of fashion that have a shorter life span. We hope that the fast fashion manufacturers become leaders in sustainable practices.

Death of disposable fashion: Ginger & Smart talk sustainable style