When we think of pollution, only a selected number of visualizations seek our minds, such as water & air pollution due to factories and industrial areas, or large oil plants near rivers, plastic waste, etc.
Never do we think that the clothes we wear are the second-largest source of pollution in the world, behind only the oil industry. The catalysts behind the increasing pollution due to the fashion industry are the rise in the number of collections produced by brands, and consumers purchasing excessively more clothes than the requirement.
As a result, the clothes worn only a few times are sent to landfills, causing unnecessary pollution.
Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion
A study by the McArthur Foundation shows that the textile industry produced over 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions.
If that’s not scary or insightful enough, then consume this: a truckful of clothes are sent to landfill or burned every second. Only 1% of clothes are recycled.
The trendy and fashionable industry of fashion is getting dirtier at some point, because of fast fashion trends and cheap clothes that are usable for only a few days.
Among all these alarming and scary things, the good news is that most of these challenges can be addressed with sustainable fashion.
In this article, I have discussed what is sustainability in fashion industry, how sustainable fashion can save the environment, and why it is the need of the hour.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainable and ethical fashion is an approach in the fashion industry that aims to reduce the negative impact of fashion on the environment, while optimizing the advantages of clothing and textiles.
Sustainability in fashion is becoming a trend as many brands and designers are paving ways to source, manufacture, and design clothes in a manner that can benefit the society at all scales.
Importance of Sustainability in Fashion: Why It Matters?
Did you know, it takes around 20,000 litres of water in the production of 1 kg cotton?
This means, a cotton T-Shirt on average needs 3,000 litres of water. Furthermore, cotton is one of the highest demanded fabrics worldwide. It is hard to believe that cotton farming has dried up the entire Aral Sea, which is one of the largest lakes in the world.
Polyester fabric is extracted from now-renewable resources like oil. Production of viscose fabric is causing deforestation in many countries which leads to loss of habitat for various species.
This shows that fast fashion is causing a huge loss to the planet. There is a drastic need for sustainability in the fashion industry. It is important to research and develop sustainable fabrics that consume lesser natural resources. In case we keep on using these resources the way it is today, there will be a day we will not have enough of them left.
Along with developing sustainable fashion products, we also need to raise awareness about the subject among everyone. People don’t have any idea that the fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to pollution.
They don’t know that when they throw away barely worn clothes and buy new clothes every weekend, they are contributing to pollution. Things need to change. Reducing the wastage of resources is a collective responsibility.
Raising awareness around sustainable fashion will help in decreasing the choice for fast fashion. Many fashion designers and influencers are doing this to make a positive impact on fashion. More and more influencers and celebrities should join the movement so that people can understand what is sustainability in the fashion industry and why sustainable fashion is important.
Some clothing brands are already on their way to develop sustainable fashion materials. There are brands that accept their old clothes back at a reduced cost or in exchange for new clothes. New ways are being created to reduce the use of water in dyeing clothes.
New business models are coming into existence where some businesses will offer fashionable clothes for rent and swap, so that everyone doesn’t need to buy new clothes for every purpose.
Handing over to you:
I hope you found this article insightful and helpful to understand the importance of sustainability in the fashion and textile industry. The least we can do to contribute to sustainable fashion is avoid unnecessary purchasing of clothes that are not required, choose clothes that are made with sustainable fashion materials, and raise awareness around the subject.
What’s your opinion on sustainable fashion and its need today?