Sustainability in the fashion industry is huge. According to The True Cost documentary, the average American produces over 82 lbs of textile waste every year!
That adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone...
This is a huge, massive, gigantic problem for many reasons. Can you think of some of the reasons why this is such a big problem?
If not, well, that's why I'm here!
Here are a few reasons why the "fast fashion" industry is a big sustainability problem:
1.) More than 90% of the cotton used in fast fashion is now genetically modified, using vast amounts of water as well as chemicals
2.) Cotton production is now responsible for 18% of worldwide pesticide use and 25% of total insecticide use.
3.) Fast fashion contributes to low wages and poor working conditions for millions, if not billions of people in countries without the same protections offered to workers in the United States.
4.) Habitat loss and environmental destruction from farm lands that have been developed to satisfy consumer culture.
5.) Waste dumps are filling up, and many times, there are releases to the environment, where fabrics and waste textiles get into the ecosystem and pollute the environment.
6.) Used clothing can be recycled, donated, re-sold, or given away to others who need it, but many times, we simply throw it away.
7.) Many of the countries where our clothing is produced are impoverished places where good clothing is in short supply. In general, shipping materials all over the world is unsustainable, so buying locally produced textiles is significantly better for the environment.
8.) There are cheap alternatives to cotton and polyester that are often overlooked. In some of my previous posts I talk about the amazing usefulness of bamboo. Did you know that bamboo can be made into a fabric that is soft, durable, and sustainable?
I could go on, but I think you get my point.
Fear not! Sustainable Fashion is becoming a thing!
This article on 35 Fair Trade & Ethical Clothing Brands Betting Against Fast Fashion shows a number of brands fighting the fast fashion industry!
Here's another article on 50 ethical fashion brands.
And yet another! 23 Sustainable and Ethical Fashion Brands
With a little bit of research, you can find a beautiful outfit from one of these ethical brands that might suit you!.... pun intended ;)
With all of that said, you might be asking How Fashion Brands Can Assist Sustainable Development
Well that entrepreneur article has some answers to that question, but if you want it from me, I think that the idea of buying locally is extremely important, but buying responsibly is just as key to contributing to the sustainable movement.
While we always need clothing, and clothing does wear out all the time, If you can minimize the amount of waste you produce, buy from companies like those listed in the articles above, and donate clothing that is no longer worn, you can literally save the lives of people who are forced to work in places where there is no regard for safe work practices.
Want a guide to be more sustainable with your clothing use and purchases? Look no further!
1.) Buy local, if possible.
2.) Buy clothing that is made with sustainable materials, in places where there are good working conditions.
3.) Don't buy fast fashion clothing (disposable, short term use clothing).
4.) Repair or refurbish clothing when seems pop instead of throwing it away.
5.) Donate clothing that is no longer used. Some people could benefit from your used garments and shoes!
6.) Don't throw away textiles. Re-use the materials if possible! There are many ways to do so!
7.) Keep in mind that quality is always better than quantity for clothing.
8.) Remember that if you buy less clothing, you'll save money, help the environment, and you can still own the show with a little personal styling help from RED by Rebecca Bolland.
That's all for now! I hope your next clothing purchase will be made with sustainability in mind!
Thanks for reading!