Sustainability in the fashion industry is a hot-right-now topic. Your wardrobe must be full of shoes, accessories, clothing, and such, but here’s a fun fact: fashion incorporates about 10% of greenhouse gas. The gas emits from when a human tends to perform a fashion-related activity.
The question stands; can the fashion industry be sustainable? Luckily, technology has created new and natural alternatives to everything. That said, there are specific ways to decrease the influence of fashion on the climate.
However, all large and small retailers try their best to approve their green credentials. Still, the yearning for new and trendy attire creates hype, and that’s what makes the industry one of the world’s largest contaminators.
Then again, trends keep changing, and people adapt to new lifestyles without considering the eco-friendly ambiance of brands.
Fashion Industry Facts
Before we get to the facts, let’s talk about the significant issue, running wild in the fashion industry: greenwashing.
Our societies are all about hyper-consumption. It’s normal for one to raise an eyebrow when brands make claims of how they are trying to “save the Earth” by “satisfying consumers.” According to the current situation of the Earth, we cannot save it, but we can change it.
Enough chit-chat, let’s get to the point. Some of these facts about the fashion industry may surprise you, while some will disgust you. Here we go.
1. We Are Buying More Than We Did Two Decades Ago.
That may not be a shocker, as most of us are always on a quest to find that perfect outfit, even with a wardrobe filled to the brim. According to a reliable estimate, there has been a 400% increase in shopping than the last two decades, which is worth the gasp.
In all of human history, we are purchasing clothes more than ever, paying less, and helping an industry worth 3 trillion make more money. How is this so?
Well, here comes the fact that the fashion industry is currently producing over 80,000 garments each year. They have to go somewhere, hence, wardrobes.
You may have heard the saying, “shopping makes you happy.” According to research in Hong Kong, we buy more than we need because we are persistently seeking satisfaction with no purpose.
2. The System Of Using Child Labor Is Never-ending.
Child labor is a severe issue in the fashion industry. Many underdeveloped countries forcefully shut down schools for children and encourage them to cotton fields.
According to the International Labor Organisation, there can be more than 170 million children involved in child labor. They are forced to contribute to the production of garments for the fashion industry.
Now, why use children to produce garments? The answer is simple. Small hands are suitable for pollinating cotton.
Furthermore, the severity of pesticides in cotton fields and excessive exposure to chemicals in the production of leather goods, tanning factories, etc., these children are on the verge of a severe health collapse.
3. Cotton Industry: Full Of Environmental Hazards And Exploitation.
One very shocking truth about the fashion industry is that it takes 10,000 litres of water to create 1kg of cotton.
That 1kg of cotton is useful for only making a pair of jeans and one t-shirt. In some countries, water resources and insufficient, and cotton production takes up most of the water. So, where’s the benefit in that?
4. The Clothes We Purchase Stay In The Landfill More Than In Our Wardrobes.
We often fight with retailers to get a bargain price, only to make us happy for a specified period. Additionally, these clothes spend more time in the landfill than they do in our homes.
When you think about it, there is no sense of sustainability for our pockets and the planet in such situations.
5. Transparency Is Delicate, And Boycotting Is Not Always The Solution.
Boycotting from certain brands like Gucci, Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton, or Goyard won’t get you anywhere. Boycotting may seem more comfortable than the alternative, but it does not address a social change.
One thing that is quite strong in the fashion industry is the voice of a consumer. When it comes to transparency, the demand for it reaches a peak, but a Barcode report in 2013 proved otherwise.
90% of companies did not know where their fabric was coming from.
Eco-Myths and Fashion
Most designer brands embrace the right side of their products and hide the wrong side; that is greenwashing. The primary issue is that greenwashing is a battle against environmental problems like plastic ocean contaminants, global species extinctions, climate change, and air pollution. One of the unfortunate things is that most companies are unaware, and they do it unintentionally.
You cannot blame brands, as they do not know what is best for the environment and what is not.
We are reaching a critical time in which the majority of individuals and organizations are adopting sustainable methods, and communities are banning plastics with minimum waste living practices.
Moreover, it is essential to identify greenwashing situations and replace them with useful, sustainable methods both as an employee and a consumer.
Furthermore, tools like life cycle assessment provide information to unaware organizations to understand what is happening in their surroundings when they make changes. Other than that, if they make any claims regarding their eco-credentials, they are purely validated.
Ethical and Fast Fashion
Ethical journalists, brands, and some campaigners emphasize that consumers can easily overcome subconscious forces of excitement and fun if they knew about the current ethical issues.
Unfortunately, based on evidence, this does not significantly enhance ethical behavior. But, extra information reduces the impact of ethical problems due to complicated matters.
Furthermore, these complications are increased by the conflicting statements coming from NGOs, brands, and the media. For instance, microfibers poison the ocean, cotton is terrible for the environment, and bamboo is ethical (it is not). Therefore, if experts can’t settle on one thing, it is evident that consumers can trust brands and purchase new clothes blindly.
When it comes to adopting a more radical approach, humans use fashion and shopping to satisfy their utmost desires, emotional and mental. That said, the real challenge is not to control this situation, but to find an ethical and systematic approach to grip them.
Is it possible for us to find sustainable solutions that can benefit the disposable fashion industry? The need to purchase new clothes will never go away.
Instead of trying to change the consumer’s ethical streak, brands should use new business models and technologies to design re-engineered and recyclable products with minimum water, chemicals, energy, and virgin materials.
Some Brands Are Following Sustainability
With the word pollution, smoke, chemicals, oil, and other harmful emissions come to mind. As already mentioned in this content several times, the fashion industry is one of the world's leading polluting industries. However, it is not all downhill for fashion, as some brands still offer integrity, quality, and Eco-friendly products.
Furthermore, the world is not in doom because there are still a few brands who follow green credentials and are highly sustainable in the fashion industry. However, they may not be the most famous brands, but they do offer organic clothing. Here they are:
Ø EILEEN FISHER
Ø Alternative Apparel
Each of these brands offers incredible green apparel for better days.
Can Fashion Be Sustained?
The majority of consumer goods have similar problems. The fashion industry is mostly problematic due to the frantic changes it emphasizes to consumers.
Every year, there is a new trend in a luxury fashion where people are attracted to high-priced products. As a result, they blindly purchase these products without thinking twice about whether it is useful for them or not.
Furthermore, some brands and manufacturers are working on methods to reduce the environmental influence of cotton production. In contrast, others are busy figuring out ways to recycle jeans.
However, cotton is not a dangerous element here; it is polymer polyester. It is the most commonly used fabric in clothing. Moreover, do you know how polymer polyester is made? It is a product of oil. It takes at nearly 70 million barrels of oil per year to create the worlds polyester needs. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose.
Overall speaking, the fashion industry uses a handful of harmful chemicals and materials to satisfy customers for a limited time. Hence, it can only be sustained if people understood the damage coming from these sources and if brands take Eco seriously.
We aim to help and do our bit by spreading this knowledge & selling vintage / pre-owned items. We also offer repairs on items as well as a customization option of which you can update the style of older pieces.