The pandemic halted fast fashion, but now that the world is opening up, we want to be fashionable again when we socialize and go places.
We cannot deny that fast fashion has impacted our environment and society to the point people are pushing for circular fashion. The issues of climate change and sustainability are now more critical than ever before; it’s time to reflect on the consequences of our dress choices over the last few years, especially having lived a more restricted but simple life during the pandemic.
According to the American Chemical Society, concept fashion production has increased by two-thirds since 2000, and it may triple by 2050. The past 50 years have also led to a nine-fold increase in the production of polyester used in fast fashion and athleisure wear, making clothing so inexpensive that it can be thrown away after only being worn a couple of times. Aside from that, online shopping has made it easier to buy impulse items and return them. A survey in the US found that 20% of clothing is not worn. In the UK, this figure is 50%.
The Need For Sustainable Fashion
Fashion accounts for 10% of all human-caused greenhouse gases and 20% of global wastewater. It also consumes more energy than both the shipping and aviation sectors.
With so much waste and energy consumption, many agree that there is a need for sustainable fashion.
Other ways fast fashion has affected our planet include:
The global fashion economy uses 93 billion metric tons of clean water annually, roughly half of the US’s annual consumption. Cotton is a particularly thirsty crop. A single kilogram of cotton needed to make a pair of jeans will need 7,500 to 10,000 liters of water — the equivalent of 10 years worth of drink for a single person. Aside from this, excess fertilizer runoff from cotton fields can pollute the soil and water.
Toxic chemicals used to dye fabrics cause 17-20% of industrial water pollution.
Contribution to Climate Change
The concept fashion industry cuts 70 million tons of trees annually for wood pulp to produce fabrics like rayon. If this continues, it accelerates the deforestation of some of the most endangered forests in the world.
According to a MacArthur Foundation report, the fashion industry generates 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, more than the carbon produced in France, Germany, and the UK. Polyester is common in 65 percent of all clothing; however, it’s not fabric; it’s plastic made from fossil fuel, consuming 70 million barrels a year. Aside from producing polyester, the fashion industry also uses large quantities of fossil fuel-based plastic to make packaging and hangers.
How to Make Fashion Sustainable
A sustainable and circular economy fashion approach maximizes fashion and society’s economic and social benefits while minimizing its environmental impact. While they have similar ideologies, they each have their own concerns equally crucial to fashion’s future.
Although sustainability is not an easy road, it’s crucial for everyone to understand what constitutes ethical and sustainable fashion.
What is Circular Fashion
Circular economy fashion aims to reduce fashion-induced catastrophe through circular sustainability.
Anna Brismar created the concept of circular fashion based on the concept of a circular economy. She defines circular fashion as clothing, shoes, and accessories designed, sourced, manufactured, and distributed to be used responsibly and effectively until they return to the biosphere in a safe and usable form. It is reusing resources that the fashion industry already owns, and it starts at the design stage of a garment.
In linear fashion, almost nothing is reused. Things are designed to be used fast, with no reusability in mind. More often than not, everything goes into a landfill.
Fast Fashion vs. Sustainable Fashion
Fast fashion is a current phenomenon. It works on a “take-make-dispose” basis, allowing companies to mass market, manufacturers to mass-produce, and consumers to get the latest trends at affordable prices. It sounds great until you look at the true cost.
Textile manufacturing is one of the most polluting industries, producing 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. It places natural resources under severe pressure to keep up with increasing consumption, leading to high levels of pollution, the use of harmful dyes and toxic chemicals, and synthetic fibers in our water supplies and oceans.
The majority of textiles used by the clothing industry come from China and India. These countries have coal-fueled power stations that increase the carbon footprint of each garment.
Unlike fast fashion, all elements of sustainable fashion are environmentally-friendly, from design to consumer use.
To make clothing and fashion more sustainable, here are some tips creators and consumers might want to consider:
- Design with purpose
- Aim for longevity
- Design for resource efficiency
- Make a biodegradable design
- Design for recyclability
- Source and produce locally
- Minimize usage of toxic products
- Source and produce with good ethics
- Reuse, recycle, and compost remains
- Collaborate with other designers
- Use, wash, and repair clothing with care
- Consider clothing loaning and renting
- Buy quality over quantity
Advantages of a Circular Fashion Economy
A circular economy is eco-friendly by principle, and this is the best way to explain the benefits of sustainable fashion. However, it is quite difficult to see results when big fast fashion brands are still extending their influence in the market. If you are not yet convinced, here is a rundown on the advantages of circular fashion.
Reduced Dependency On Imported Materials
Fast fashion has been using a lot of energy and unethically harvesting raw materials and other elements for textile production. A circular economy ensures that everything will be homegrown, locally-made, and reused for as much as possible.
Creation of Eco-Friendly Industries
Circular fashion will create jobs and opportunities for people and the community without hurting the environment in the long run. These environment-friendly industries will be more conscious of their waste materials and be more ethical in handling their products and workers.
Haven House Thrift Store Supports a Circular Economy
Haven House Thrift Store is an excellent resource for anyone who resolved to have sustainable clothes in the new year.
Haven House Thrift Store in Destin, FL, supports Haven House Recovery Center. All proceeds from our store go to our recovery center, dedicated to helping men return to their communities free from their addictions.
We also have an online shop where you can browse our selections and find ethical clothing at an affordable price. Get in touch with us today!