Despite what Donald Trump tries to tell you (not that anyone is really listening to him, anyway), climate change is very real. Our environment is suffering and will continue to suffer if we don’t make big changes as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, when it comes to industries that threaten the state of the environment, the fashion industry is second only to the oil industry. The way our clothes are sourced and produced, combined with the high turnover rate of our garments, are slowly ruining the world around us.
Think about what you’re wearing right now. Do you know where each item of clothing on your body at this very moment actually came from? This may be news to you, but clothes don’t just magically appear in stores one day. A lot of time, materials, and human labour go into producing a garment; in fact, the fashion industry is actually the most labour-dependent industry in the world.
Most materials and processes by/from which clothes come aren’t sustainable. We just can’t keep mass producing items of clothing in the same way that we do now. Resources will be depleted and the environment will keep taking massive blows because of it.
It gets even worse when you think about the people that are making your clothes. Women in countries such as Indonesia are forced to work shifts of up to 24 hours in garment factories where they don’t even get paid enough to be able to buy a sufficient amount of food to give them energy to keep working. What kind of fresh hell is that?! Why are we letting this happen?
And then, as if all that isn’t bad enough, we as consumers have the audacity to get rid of clothes after only wearing them a couple of times! While the whole “out of sight, out of mind” mindset is nice and easy, take a sec and think about where your clothes are ending up after you get rid of them. Sure, some might end up in landfills; but those are filling up fast and are running out of room to hold more waste. A lot of waste actually ends up at the bottom of the ocean, destroying ecosystems, killing marine life, and polluting our water.
But here’s the good news: there are super easy fixes to these issues!
Did you know that if you expand the lifespan of a garment an extra nine months, you’ll reduce its carbon footprint by 30-40%?
Instead of buying a cheap jacket at the beginning of winter and getting rid of it a few months later when the weather warms up again, why don’t you commit to saving up for a more expensive coat? Investing in an expensive piece of clothing will actually save you money over time because you won’t have to keep replacing it the way you would a cheap garment; you’ll also reduce the amount of waste you generate.
Try to shop from sustainable and transparent brands. Labels such as Everlane make a point of sourcing sustainable, ethical materials, and showing consumers exactly how much money was spent at each stage of the supply chain, making you feel good about how much you’re spending on their clothes. Brands like Reformation use only sustainable methods and materials, and are completely transparent about their manufacturers and the manufacturing process. Shopping from brands like those ensure that you’re purchasing clothes that weren’t harmful to any workers or the environment while they were being made.
The fashion industry is amazing, dynamic, and super progressive on so many fronts—don’t be part of the reason it falls behind in environmental consciousness.
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