***We assume you already know the definition of fast fashion, but for those of you who don’t, fast fashion is a term to describe the speed at which fashion designs move from design concept to fashion product available for purchase. It is usually characterized by high volume, low margin, fast-paced, cheap and disposable items ***
14 Fashion Waste and Sustainability Facts
Fact 1: The apparel and footwear industries account for a combined estimate of 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and fashion is the third highest-polluting industry in the world.
Fact 2: A 2016 McKinsey report revealed that three-fifths of all clothing items will end up in an incinerator or landfill within a year after being produced.
Fact 3: If we keep this up, by 2050 the fashion industry could use more than 26 percent of the “carbon budget”associated with a 2o C pathway (a long-term goal to limit global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels).
Fact 4: We don’t really wear our clothes. Worldwide, clothing utilization (how often we put something on) hasdecreased by 36 percent compared to 15 years ago.
Fact 5: It’s estimated that less than 1 percent of material used to produce clothing is recycled into something more. That’s about a loss of 100 billion USD worth of materials every year.
Fact 6: By 2030, it’s expected that fashion waste will increase to a 148 million ton problem.
Fact 7: According to the Global Fashion Agenda, 26 percent of business owners surveyed believe that “low consumer willingness to pay a premium for sustainable products” was the greatest barrier for them to become more sustainable.
Fact 8: …But consumer attitudes for ethical fashion are increasingly favorable. Sixty percent of millennials say they want to shop more “sustainably.”
Fact 9: Many brands are moving to more sustainable production methods. As of May 2018, 12.5 percent of the global fashion market has pledged to make changes by 2020.
Fact 10: The clothing brand Patagonia was the first to make polyester fleece out of plastic bottles.
Fact 11: Cotton, a popular material in clothing, requires high levels of water and pesticides, which cause issues in developing countries.
Fact 12: About 2,000 different chemicals are used in textile processing — yet only 16 are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Fact 13: According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the fashion industry produces 20 percent of global wastewater.
Fact 14: Only 15 percent of consumers recycle their used clothing.
What You Can Do To Reduce Fashion Waste
Host a Clothing Swap: Get your neighbors, coworkers, and friends to bring over clothes they’re no longer interested in wearing and do a “swap.” This helps extends the lifecycle of the clothing (and it’s fun).
Shop Smart: When you do go shopping, start at consignment and thrift stores before buying new. Find ethical and sustainable brands to support new wardrobes.
Tailor to Your Style: Focus less on what’s trending or what’s on discount. Take the time to figure out your own personal style and find clothes you’ll love to wear again and again.
Rent, Reuse, Recycle: More and more brands are moving to clothing subscriptions so you can rent new clothes rather than purchase. This allows you to change up your style without adding to the landfill.
Quality over Quantity: Downsize your wardrobe, and be sure to donate or sell the items you no longer need! Having a minimalist closet can help you focus on buying less and choosing well-made and longer-lasting clothes.!
Working conditions, wages and child labour
29. 4% of what Australians spend on clothing goes to the wages of workers in garment factories across the globe.(Oxfam 2017)
30. Over 50% of workers within the fashion industry are not paid the minimum wage in countries like India and the Philippines. (Global Fashion Agenda 2017)
31. In Pakistan’s garment sector, 87% of women are paid less than the minimum wage. (Global Fashion Agenda 2017)
32. In Australia, some garment outworkers earn as little as $7 an hour and, in some cases, as little as $4 well which is below the minimum wage of $17.49 per hour. (Choice 2014)
42. It takes about 2,720 litres of water to produce just one cotton shirt – a number equivalent to what an average person drinks over three years. (EJF)
43. It takes about 10,000 litres of water to produce enough cotton for a pair of jeans. (WRAP 2011)
44. The volume of water consumed by the global fashion industry is 79 billion cubic meters equivalent to 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools. (Global Fashion Agenda 2017)
45. Researchers anticipate the industry’s water consumption will increase by 50% by 2030 as cotton producers are located in countries suffering water stress, such as China and India. (Global Fashion Agenda 2017)
46. It takes about 170,000 litres of water to grow a kilogram of wool. (Julian Cribb ‘The Coming Famine‘ 2010)
47. Each year 1.3 trillion gallons of water is used for fabric dyeing alone. (World Resources Institute 2017).
Clean, Green, Cute: Why sustainable fashion is the future
by MacKenna Strange, Resident Creator
It’s time to get real about where our clothes come from.
The fashion industry is the third highest-polluting industry in the world and the second largest consumer of water.
20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles. In China alone, the textile industry pumps out 2.5 billion tons of wastewater every year.
2,000 different chemicals, including formaldehyde, chlorine, lead, and mercury are used in textile processing. Of these, over 1,600 are used in dyeing processes, but only 16 are actually EPA-approved.
The photos below depict rivers and other bodies of water polluted by these harmful chemicals in China, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Ecuador, Brazil, and Russia. This project intends to juxtapose the bright colors in fashion with the horrifying colors of pollution, which come as a direct result of the textile industry. It’s time to start seeing the environmental and social impacts of our fashion choices. Research before you shop. Think about your fashion choices. Complicity is out of style.