Sustainability is such a massive topic in the fashion industry right now, and there’s no surprise. I’m not sure whether it’s because I study and work in the industry, that I’m so aware of what struggles its facing and problems its creating. But it’s a topic that everyone who’s a consumer should be aware of. So, I thought I would share a bit of an insight into what our fast fashion obsession is really doing for the environment and why it’s such a hot topic at the minute.
The fashion industry is the fifth worse industry for impacting negatively on the environment and it’s due to so many factors. It uses 98 million tonnes of oil every year and emits more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s air travel. This mean’s that it’s using non-renewable energy that is very resource intensive to gain and can also not be there for future generations. As the greenhouse gases contribute to the depletion of the o-zone layer and global warming. The amount of dyeing and treatment of our favourite fabrics, also contributes to 20% of global water pollution. This is going into rivers that developing countries use to wash and cook with. So not only is it causing massive effects on the environment, but also on the health of our world population too.
In todays modern world we are so lucky to be able to have access to clothes 24/7 and from any location we want to buy them from. However, this means that we don’t keep our clothes for as long, as we can so easily go and buy something new. It could be a few years, months or even just a day, for a special event. It’s been proved that on average the lifetime of a garment in the UK, is only 2.2 years. Also, £140 million clothes which are still wearable make their way into landfill every year. These are all items that we could donate to charity, sell or give away, and make sure it’s life continues, until it’s no longer wearable.
So, I think the question on everyones lips is what can we do to make this situation better. For a start it’s all about being aware of what you buy and how much you buy. Try to buy more high quality pieces that will last longer, and that will you will treasure. Over cheap items, that you will only wear a few times. This way you are not putting more items into the cycle and being more responsible with your clothing choices. Also, when you’ve finished with your pieces, they always have another life so make sure you give them away, donate them or sell them. An item you may be finished with is always someone else treasure. Finally, think about the brands you’re buying from. All brands usually have a statement or stance on sustainability and you can see what they do to be more environmentally friendly. Fast fashion brands are generally not as sustainable due to how they make their items so quickly, where they make them and also how many items they clear through ready for the next season launch. Just have a think and do some research before you buy an item. One small thing you do can feed into a massive change.