12 Sustainable Fashion Facts You Need to Know
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Millions of people strive to be more sustainable every day, whether it be by reducing waste or conserving water. While any step towards sustainability is a great one, have you ever thought about what you put on your body? The clothes you wear can be sustainable, too.
However, most fashion today doesn’t hold to sustainable values. Larger clothing corporations have promoted fast fashion over sustainable fashion, and people bought into it. However, there are ways to avoid fast fashion and embrace sustainable fashion.
What Is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainable fashion’s goal is to source, create and design clothes that lessen the impact on the environment. Additionally, sustainable fashion should benefit the fashion industry and society. This can be achieved in multiple ways, like using organic materials, dyeing with biodegradable dyes and reusing materials.
However, for fashion to be truly sustainable, it needs to be sustainable from production to consumption to the end of the clothing’s life. The fashion industry at large still has a long way to reach full sustainability. Still, some companies are doing their best to be more environmentally-friendly when it comes to the wardrobe.
People are becoming increasingly aware of the fast-fashion world, but many still choose to purchase clothing from fast-fashion industries since it’s so readily available. A shift in attitude needs to happen in consumers’ minds so that they welcome the idea of sustainability in fashion.
Many years ago, the idea of wearing sustainable and ethical clothing wouldn’t have crossed the minds of anyone because it didn’t matter. No one paid attention to the materials in clothing or how they were produced — they just bought the clothes and wore them. That attitude has left people searching for sustainability in a fast-fashion world that is doing more harm than good for the environment.
Sustainability in a Fast-Fashion World
Much of the fashion today is fast fashion. Fast fashion is relatively cheap clothing, and it keeps up with trends. Since the clothing is made so quickly and cheaply, the material doesn’t last very long, so often, after a few wears, people will throw it away.
The fast fashion industry’s goal is to get the trendiest and newest styles out on the street as quickly as possible. That way, consumers will buy them up as soon as possible. Fashion trends go in and out, so as soon as one style goes, another comes in, and consumers feel pressured to buy the new. It’s an endless cycle — unless people change their mindset to embrace sustainable fashion.
Sustainable Fashion — The Facts
Now that you know the basics of sustainable fashion and fast fashion, check out the following sustainable fashion facts.
1. By the year 2030, which is less than 10 years from now, fashion waste could increase to 148 million tons.
2. Younger generations are being more cautious about their fashion choices, meaning they could be the ones who lead the change for sustainable fashion.
3. For just one cotton t-shirt — and let’s face it, most people probably have a drawer full of t-shirts — it can take nearly 3,000 liters of water to produce enough cotton to make it. Using recycled cotton can save that water, and it reduces waste.
4. Patagonia, Pact, ABLE, Tradlands and United By Blue are just a few of the sustainable fashion brands you can find in the United States. They’re found throughout the U.S., and there are sustainable brands in many other countries as well.
5. Companies have made shoes out of recycled materials like plastic and rubber tires to mitigate the effects of the 300 million pairs of shoes thrown out every year.
6. The fashion industry is one of the leaders of pollution, making up about 10% of the carbon emissions leaking into the environment.
7. Fast fashion is a worldwide issue, so it will take leaders of change in every country to combat the fast fashion industry.
8. In the United States alone, over 25 million pounds of clothing are ending up in landfills or incinerators each year.
9. The best way to be more sustainable is by choosing quality pieces that will last a long time over cheaper ones that you know will go out-of-style.
10. Pretty much every textile is recyclable, but not much of it is actually recycled.
11. In the world of sustainable fashion, traditional forms of creating clothes are more popular. Instead of relying on factories and machines, many sustainable clothing items are made by hand with techniques like spinning, weaving and using natural dyes.
12. Organic cotton, natural fibers, organic hemp and TENCEL are a few of the most sustainable clothing fabrics, so look for them when you add to your wardrobe.
Create Your Own Sustainable Wardrobe
If you’re looking to put fast fashion out of style, begin creating your own sustainable wardrobe. Only purchase something if you know you’ll wear it 30 times or more. Inform yourself about the fashion industry and shop sustainable brands. Also, if you want to get rid of some clothes, donate them or give them a new purpose instead of sending them to the landfill.
Once you change your attitude towards clothing, you’ll be part of the change towards sustainable fashion.
About the author
Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.