I’m sure sustainable fashion is a term we’ve all heard by now. Before I really understood what it meant, I thought it was just for super rich people who bought extremely expensive clothes made from obscure fabrics. Now I know better. So what is sustainable fashion?
Some facts from Ecouterre – an online fashion magazine:
- Clothing uses more water than any other industry other than agriculture.
- Conventional cotton is the most toxic crop in the world.
- About $2 Billion of toxic chemical pesticides are used every year to grow cotton.
- At least 3 Million people are poisoned by pesticides every year, according to the World Health Organization.
So THAT is why organic cotton is such a big deal. The production of a piece of clothing from conventional cotton is toxic from beginning to end. Then when we buy the piece and wear it, the toxins have their chance to affect us as well. Then when it is thrown away – those toxins continue to leach into the environment in the landfill. There are different ways now in which sustainable fashion can be made, for instance, hemp biomass can be used to create fibers that can, in turn, stop the mass production of unsustainable fashion, resulting in fewer landfill toxins choking up the ozone layer.
Then there are the issues around horrifying working conditions and child labour in factories manufacturing the clothes in far-away countries like China and Bangladesh.
And THEN there are the issues around greenhouse gas emissions resulting from manufacturing and discarding the heaps of cheap clothing we have.
I think John Oliver really sums it up well.
Sustainable Fashion really IS a big deal. So what can we do?
Fashion Takes Action is a Canadian non-profit organization that focuses on sustainability in the fashion industry. They provide resources to the industry and the general public.
For a more in-depth look at the different aspects of sustainable fashion, check out the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion.
What are some of the ways you can contribute to resizing fashion’s footprint?
- Sustainable Fashion: The Industry’s Tort Reform (huffingtonpost)