Are you browsing the site, kinda thinking, I don’t get why fashion is so bad… Yeah… we hear that alot. So let us break it down for you.
First, let’s talk water. Fashion is the second largest consumer and polluter of water because processing raw materials (which is what clothes are made from) and manufacturing textiles consume crazy amounts of water. For example, a single pair of jeans uses over 1000 gallons of water to make. Read that last sentence again. Jeans aren’t the only bad guy, every piece of clothing requires hundreds of gallons to make.
After water is used in the manufacturing process, the now polluted water goes back into oceans, rivers and lakes. In China alone, the textile industry pumps out more than 3 billion tons of wastewater every year. There is a common saying in China, that they “always know the colors of the next season” because the rivers and lakes will turn those chemically colors.
Not convinced it’s so bad still? How’s this: 98% of clothing bought in the US was imported from abroad. Yup. The US only makes 2% of its clothing. A single cotton T-shirt transported Asia to the US results in over 9,000 clothing miles traveled and over 2 pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions. The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined.
As consumers, Americans toss out over 14 million tons of textiles a year. Guess what, those clothes are actually not garbage and over 99% of the clothing thrown away in the US can in fact be recycled or reused. Even in a landfill, these materials don’t just go away— for example, polyester requires more than 200 years to biodegrade.
Washing clothes, meanwhile, releases 500,000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.
Now let’s talk cotton. It’s not that bad, right? Wrong.
Conventional cotton is not awesome. About ⅔ of all apparel contains cotton fibers, and we believe it has some of the most harmful environmental impacts of all fabric. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, conventional cotton consumes 11% of the world’s pesticide sales and 24% of the world’s insecticide sales, despite the fact that cotton only uses 2.4% of total arable land. Not good. Not good at all. So, if you’re buying something made from cotton, make sure it’s organic. :)
And here’s an added bonus- the fashion industry is not just bad for the earth. It is not great for humans either. 40 million people work in the garment industry today. 85% of these people are women. Mental, physical, and sexual abuse is common throughout the industry. In addition, fast fashion often employs children who work under the same poor conditions. That’s not cool with us, and should not be cool with you either.