Sustainability is the buzzword of the century. As the impacts of climate change grow, actions to mitigate and adapt become more urgent in every part of life.
Here we bring together some of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry. We provide some ways to reduce your personal impact through your fashion choices.
A few facts about the fashion industry:
- In the EU, clothing is the 4th largest pressure on natural resources after housing, transport and food.
- An estimated 20% of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide originates from the textile industry.
- Textile production uses around 93 billion cubic metres of water every year.
- Every year, textile production produces 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases. More than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
- In 2015, 6.4 million tonnes of clothing in the EU generated 195 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents.
Reducing the environmental impact of fashion is vital to tackling climate change. The issues are extremely complex. You can find out more here.
Opportunities for Sustainability in Fashion
The most sustainable clothes are already in your wardrobe.
Clothes you bought before and worn are the most sustainable clothes you can find. They have already made an impact on the environment. By wearing your own clothes, you reduce the number of new items you buy and your clothing demand in the economy.
Start your sustainable fashion journey looking within. You might find something that you never thought you had.
Normalise re-wearing outfits
We all know how long it takes to match the perfect outfit together! Why should it be that once you have worn it you can’t wear it again?!?
Rewearing a garment extends its life, reducing the volume sent to landfill. Reduced demand for new clothes; means a smaller carbon footprint. So let’s celebrate those fabulous outfits again and again and again!
Look to Slow Fashion Alternatives
Slow fashion is the change of consumer behaviour to buy fewer and better quality clothes. It promotes transparency in supply chains along with small-scale production. It also encourages traditional crafting techniques and using local materials. It’s about impacting our world as little as possible and giving back to the community as much as possible.
Charity shops are a key element of the slow fashion movement. They provide an alternative avenue for wearable clothing no longer wanted. They also create vital funds for charities, supporting our local and global communities.
Join the Sharing Economy
Sharing is caring. When it comes to conscious consumers it couldn’t be more true. Some clothing items only ever get once or twice. Instead of wearing it once and throwing away, why not lend it to a friend, swap it with something else, or rent it out?
The sharing economy reduces the volume of textile waste entering landfill. It saves the resources required to make new ones and is much cheaper than buying something new.
A Right to Repair
As the saying goes, ‘A stitch in time saves 9’. Repairing an item of clothing could save far more than 9 stitches!
Repairing and up-cycling clothing extends the life of an item and reduces valuable textiles resources. If you don’t know how to repair it, google it! Don’t forget to show off your repairs and up-cycled items and inspire more people.