We are facing a climate crisis, and the effects are already being felt all across the world. From unprecedented heatwaves to deadly flash floods, rising sea levels to biodiversity loss, it is clear that climate change is not a future threat, but a present reality. Throughout the entire fashion supply chain, natural resources are extracted, habitats are exploited, toxic emissions are produced, water is polluted and waste is carelessly dumped.
Global carbon emissions are a key factor in this ongoing disaster. Today, in fact, fashion accounts for up to 10% of global carbon dioxide output—more than international flights and shipping combined, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. The colossal carbon impact of clothing happens at every stage of the fashion supply chain and product life cycle, but 70% of fashion’s emissions originate from upstream activities such as raw material production and processing. Despite this, most major brands still fail to take basic steps towards environmental due diligence at their supplier sites. Generally speaking, dyeing and finishing, yarn preparation, and fibre production tend to be the most carbon-intensive phases. These processes are massively underrated by fashion brands, who mostly only account for the emissions from their own operations, like transport and retail.
Water pollution caused by the fashion industry is another stepping stone in the catastrophic equation. In most of the countries in which garments are produced, untreated toxic wastewaters from textiles factories are dumped directly back into the rivers. Wastewater contains toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, among others. These are extremely harmful to the aquatic life and the health of millions of people living by those river banks. The contamination also reaches the sea and eventually spreads around the globe. Another major source of water contamination is the use of fertilizers for non-organic cotton production, which heavily pollutes runoff waters and evaporation waters.
Overproduction and plastic-made clothing of fast fashion labels are producing extreme, harmful for the soil waste. Clothing has clearly become easily disposable. As a result, we generate more and more textile waste yearly. A family in the western world throws away an average of 30 kg of clothing each year. Only 15% is recycled or donated, and the rest goes directly to the landfill or is incinerated. Synthetic fibers, such as polyester, are plastic fibers, therefore non-biodegradable and can take up to 300 years to decompose. Synthetic fibers are used in 72% of our clothing and account for a 1/5 of the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally each year.
Human Right Abuses. Fast fashion might be cheap at the store, but someone else is paying the full price. The textile industry has been built around workers' rights abuse since the Industrial Revolution. Garment workers today work extreme hours for poverty wages, often in dangerous conditions. In 2013, the Rana Plaza Factory in Bangladesh collapsed due to shoddy construction, killing 1,100 people and injuring another 2,500. This was hardly an isolated incident, as hundreds of Bangladeshi workers have died in factory fires over the past decade. Children aren't exempt from the challenges of producing cheap clothes. There are an estimated 168 million underage workers in the world today, many of them children pulled out of school to work in garment factories.
We have finally began to notice a strong stand in the Fashion Revolution that is no calling on brands, retailers, producers, policymakers, educators, designers, students, journalists and citizens to fight back.
We standby our ethical, sustainable, conscious fashion choices and we would love for you yo join the #movement.