Facing the truth

The fashion world is a very contradicting one. While one of its main goals is to make us feel beautiful in the clothes we purchase, it has a very ugly and problematic side that we do not get to see often enough.

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, right after the oil industry.

Trends and the industry itself are always changing which leaves us consumers feeling like we need to buy new items every couple of weeks. This results in many different environmental problems that need to be addressed. But what do some of the statistics of these issues look like?

 

Water Consumption

The fashion industry uses around 1.5 trillion liters of water each year. It is mainly used to dye fabrics and to grow resources. The production and cultivation of cotton requires a particularly large amount of water which has far-reaching consequences for humanity and the environment because it can lead to desertification and drinking water shortage. According to the UN, a single pair of jeans for example requires a kilogram of cotton which needs between 7,500-10,000 liters of water.
But not only the production of clothing plays a huge role in this issue but also the maintenance of the items that we are responsible for. The impact of us washing   our clothes at home is just as important, as 40% of domestic water footprints stem from laundry.
 

 What can you do about it?

  • choose fibers with low water consumption (e.g. linen, recycled fibers)
  • choose GOTS-certified cotton
  • choose natural and undyed fabrics
  • be mindful about how often you wash your clothes

 

Water Pollution

500 000 tons of microplastic end up in the ocean each year which is equal to 50 billion water bottles. This happens because thousands of tiny microfibers are released into the water when you wash synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester which most of our clothes are made of. Through small organisms that are then eaten by larger fish, these plastic fibers are introduced into our food chain and our drinking water.

What can you do about it?

  • choose natural fabrics
  • when you wash your clothes, put them into a washbag that catches microfibers
  • wash synthetic clothes less frequently and at lower temperatures

 

Green House Gases

Due to production, manufacturing and transportation, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. This partly due to the fact that every couple of weeks new trends and must-have items are introduced and new collections are released which encourages us to buy more and more clothing. 
Another reason for this issue is that most of our clothes consist of synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon which is made from fossil fuel and makes production very energy-intensive. In addition, most of our clothing is produced in countries like Bangladesh and China which are mainly powered by coal which is a type of energy that releases the most carbon emissions.

What can you do about it?

  • choose natural fibers
  • focus on quality over quantity
  • ditch fast fashion
  • keep the origin of the garments in mind and buy clothes made in countries powered by more renewable energy

 

Textile waste

The average lifetime of a garment today is 3 years. Over the last years, clothing has become increasingly disposable. Most of us have probably been victims of the many new temporary trends and temptingly cheap prices of clothing in the past and have thus filled our wardrobes whit items that didn't really fit us or we didn't really like. In Europe alone, around 5.8 million tons of clothing are thrown away each year. Around 75% go directly to the landfill. Synthetic fibers play a particularly large role in textile waste. Since they are made of plastic, they can take up to 200 years to decompose.

What can you do about it?

  • choose natural fabrics
  • focus on quality over quantity
  • bring slightly damaged clothes to the tailor before throwing them away
  • recycle, swap or sell clothes that you no longer wear

 

We still have a long way to go but there is hope!

The statistics around the contribution of the fashion industry to the pollution of our environment are shocking and these are just some of the issues that the fast fashion sector creates. But awareness is the first step towards creating change.

We at Miryam The Label are on a mission to create clothing in harmony with the environment and all living beings and we are proud to be contributing to a better future! We believe in „do good and good will come your way"!

For more information on how we integrate sustainability, see our "Sustainability"-page.

 

 

Sources:
https://www.sustainyourstyle.org/old-environmental-impacts
https://oceanic.global/projects/microplastics-in-fashion/
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200310-sustainable-fashion-how-to-buy-clothes-good-for-the-climate
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/earth-day-2019-fashion-industrys-carbon-impact-is-bigger-than-airline-industrys/
https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/water-scarcity-fashion-industry

 
 




 

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