The world today is going through a shock of wave that was not only unexpected but also a reminder to revaluate the things most important to us. Right from an individual to big multinationals, old habits need to go. That being said, I want to especially focus on the fashion industry in today’s article because yes, obviously I work for a fashion company. Hahaha. But also because, jokes aside, fast fashion is one of the major reasons for our sick planet.
No wonder, fast fashion let’s everyone experiment with various looks,designs and creations but at what cost? The increasing production of textile that is needed to keep up with fast fashion results in overwhelming greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions. Not only does the fast fashion pollute our air but also pollutes the water. Do you know that it takes about 2700 litres of water to make one cotton t-shirt? Yes, even I did not believe this before but the reason why this statistic is startling is because we as consumers only see the cheap cotton t-shirt on sale but the dyes that go into the most brightly coloured fashion pieces that we love are also major water polluters. Not only that, the cheap fabric used in fast fashion clothing (namely polyester) shed microfibers that contribute to ocean pollution.
I could possibly list a thousand more reasons as to why fast fashion is bad but that’ not the focus. All I really wanted to was to give you a mental picture of how bad fast fashion is and now that Covid-19 has given us the opportunity to pick up the pieces and rebuild again, we have the opportunity as well as a responsibility to make changes rather than just putting bandages on the otherwise flawed system.
Now is the team for true collaboration and leadership. Now is the time for brands to forge better partnerships, get to know their suppliers and create an innovative roadmap to meet these goals efficiently. Fashion Brands must commit themselves to responsible resources , use transparency and circular systems. Brands must realise that they need to be respectful and compassionate towards the treatment of animals. Larger Brand should set a benchmark by building strong foundations leading to robust changes. They need to revise and enforce guideline that support their suppliers and also regulate the usage of chemicals , wastewater and start recycling and composting infrastructure to support circularity.
That being said, it is up to the consumers to demand such changes. Infact, for consumers there will be a price as well. It will include letting go the major conveniences of the fashion system. Fashion has long been humanity’s dominant form of personal expression, a means of visualizing allegiance to one’s community, yet for too long it has fallen short in its ability to reflect our deepest values. As advocates for and consumers of responsible fashion, we can close that gap, bringing humanity to this industry and creating a movement to which we can all belong.
Here's a list of a few fashion brands that are setting an example for the rest to follow :
- H&M Conscious : This brand has taken care of every aspect when it comes to sustainability. Every item that you pick out in this collection it made of environment friendly fabrics like organic cotton and recycled polyester. And the best part is that the range starts from 10$ so that consumers don’t have to spend a fortune. The brand also gives an opportunity to recycle unwanted clothing to the consumers and incentivises the customers who bring in their old clothes to recycle.
- Ginger&Smart : This company is an Australian brand that is setting an example in the modern fashion industry. The company only sources fabrics that are biodegradable. They also use fabrics that do not use up excessive water in both production as well as in milling of the fabric.
- Polo Ralph Lauren : This brand has made a significant change due to it’s popularity and volume. Their Earth Polo range which is available for both men and kid’s is entirely made up of recycled water bottles. Even the dyes they use , do not need water in the process of application. Even though the Earth Polo is just a shirt , the brand estimates that it will be able to save about 170 million plastic bottles from landfills by 2025. The company also makes sure to publish their sustainability report to showcase their dedication , progress and goals for the years to come.
As responsible individuals of tomorrow, we need to accept responsibility for our choices. It’s easy to deflect the blame and forget about the impact of our own doings. Whilst that’s the easier option to side with for now, there’s going to be a time where our backs would be against the wall and we wouldn’t have any options to side with. So, the decision is all yours. What’s it going to be? Taking baby steps each day to pave the path for a better future or utilise all the options right now and regret later?