Fashion trends are making their way into wardrobes around the world faster than ever before, thanks to social media, its thousands of influencers, and the enormous business opportunity it represents for brands. From crop tops to mum jeans and bombers.  

Being fashionable has never been easier for customers! Fashionistas can refresh their ensembles quickly and for less than the price of a Starbucks latte thanks to low-cost online stores.  

However, there is a huge environmental cost associated with this. Even though sustainable and ethical fashion is becoming more popular, the fashion industry remains one of the most destructive.  

This is why:  

  1. Every year, up to 100 billion new clothing is produced.  

The days of fashion following the natural seasons (Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter) are long gone. The majority of clothing purchased today is fast fashion, which involves mass-producing low-quality garments by workers who are given incredibly low salaries so that shops can sell them at incredible costs. A year’s worth of collecting can be as high as 50. Every week, that’s almost a new collection.  

Overall, since the early 2000s, the volume of clothes manufactured annually is anticipated to have doubled, reaching 100 billion pieces per year in 2014. That’s approximately 14 outfits for every individual on the planet.  

  1. Cotton is the crop that uses the most water.  

Natural and synthetic raw materials are the two main categories of raw materials utilized in the textile industry. Cotton is used to make the majority of clothing. While it’s understandable that customers might believe it’s environmentally friendly, it isn’t.  

Pesticides are heavily used in cotton farming. Cotton is grown on only 2.4 percent of the world’s arable land, but it uses 24% of the world’s insecticides and 11% of the world’s pesticides.  

Cotton is the most water-intensive crop on the planet. One kilogram of cotton necessitates between 7,000 and 29,000 gallons of water. The environment and communities living near cotton production plants pay a high price for this.  

  1. Microplastics in the billions end up in the ocean.  

Consumers enjoy polyester, acrylic, nylon, and other synthetic fibers in workout wear, swimsuits, and even necessities like tee shirts. These materials, which are manufactured from petroleum, are thought to account for 60% of the apparel we wear.  

What’s the big deal about that? According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, synthetic fibers account for 35% of microplastics entering the ocean. Clothing composed of these fibers shreds every time we wash it. Up to 728,000 fibers can come loose at the same time, flowing into waterways and polluting our ocean and ecosystem.  

Overall, fashion microplastics may be significantly more harmful than plastics used in the food or packaging industries.  

  1. Fashion has a significant environmental impact.  

The majority of the fashion supply chain, from crop farming and synthetic fiber production to sewing, dyeing, and clothing sales, takes place in diverse parts of the world for economic reasons. To reach their destination, garments, particularly those offered by fast-fashion retailers, traverse thousands of kilometers by plane or sea.  

This, combined with the significant amount of energy consumed in both the supply chain and the consumer phase, results in a significant carbon footprint. According to a 2018 report by Quantis, the garment and footwear industries account for more than 8% of global climate impacts. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, this would result in more greenhouse gas emissions than all international flights and maritime freight voyages combined.  

  1. The industry generates a lot of garbage.  

Every year, we generate billions of new outfits. Where do they all go, though? A large number of them wind up in landfills. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a garbage truck full of textiles is thrown away every second.  

Customers are enticed to buy the current trends via fast fashion. The amount of unworn apparel in the average fashionista’s wardrobe is increasing all the time.  

Each year, a household in the Western world discards an average of 30 kg of clothing. 73% of it will be burned or buried in a landfill. What is collected for recycling (about 12 percent) will most likely be shredded and used to stuff mattresses, insulation, or cleaning cloths. Less than 1% of what is gathered will be used to produce new garments, which is a squandered opportunity for both the economy and the environment.  

  1. Human rights violations are common.  

Unsafe working conditions in garment manufacturers around the world have sparked a considerable outcry in recent years. Garment workers are frequently subjected to severe labor abuses. These workers often operate in a climate of fear and uncertainty as a result of sexual and verbal abuse, low wages, and a lack of union protection.  The industry must prioritize ensuring a safe working environment and giving garment employees a voice.  

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