Sustainability has become something of the buzzword these days.
And it’s starting to be used in areas we all may not necessarily think about – for example in fashion.
Five things you need to know:
- The fashion industry is huge. It employs over 75 million people and is valued at around $ 2.5 trillion. Designer labels always seem able to make big fashion statements, but the biggest one can still be how and where your clothes are made. And that is important because, according to a department of the UN, the fashion world produces around 20% of the world’s wastewater and around 10% of global CO2 emissions.
- So how can fashion become more sustainable? By making clothes in such a way that they do not harm our planet. This includes reducing energy and emissions in the manufacture of man-made synthetic materials; generally use fewer chemicals, reduce the build-up of contaminated water, plastic use and disposal; and ensure that the workers who make the clothing are not exploited or abused, but are treated fairly and paid.
- Over the past few decades, the number of fast fashion retailers recreating runway trends and mass producing them at super affordable prices has grown massively, both online and in your mall. Some studies have shown that up to 50% of the fast fashion sold is made of plastic.
- “Fast fashion” is basically just supposed to ensure that the customer gets lower and lower prices – only to throw it away if a new trend emerges in less than a few months. According to the EPA, 11.3 million tons of discarded clothing were sent to landfill in 2018.
- But all of this could gradually change as the fashion industry becomes increasingly the environmental focus. A recent survey of teenagers – the age group that drives fashion trends – says over 80% think sustainable fashion is a good idea. but less than half without knowing where to find it.
So the market is here, and many of the fast fashion houses are promising to source their clothing materials sustainably – some up to 100% by 2030 will soon also help our planet cool down instead of possibly heating it up.
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