Climate Change Affecting Fashion
The environment and fashion, two words you would never think to hear together. When you consider how the fashion industry works you start to realize there are a lot of environmental factors from producing the garments to packaging them and then on to displaying the product in a store front.
The idea of this post is inspired by Fashionista and Climate Week, a summit held by The Climate Group in New York City. Leaders come together to help spread awareness of climate change and to further drive their efforts with seminars, exhibitions and discussions. One of the panels included social and environmentally aware fashion individuals who brought light to the repercussions of producing a high volume of garments. Fashionista reported, Nate Aden, who is from the World Resources Institute, who stated, “The best number we have now is about five percent of [global] greenhouse gas emissions [come from] this sector. To give you some sense of perspective, that’s about equivalent to the impact from the aviation sector, so all the planes flying in the world. Or in country terms, that’s about equal to Russia. So it’s pretty significant.”
The Information isn’t to cause distress over the disheartening state of our climate, but instead to bring awareness to an issue you might not have considered before. We live in a resource-driven society, and we must become mindful of that to even the smallest degree. For example, something as small as the production of jeans is extremely costly to the environment. There is an extensive process for making jeans in general, and the price tag does base on the production. A pricey tag on an item usually means better quality. This can vary depending on the item itself, but for jeans, this holds to be true.
HuffPost explains the factors that play into the production of jeans and why the eco-friendly ones can be more expensive. A few things to consider are: it takes roughly 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans. There is also a multitude of pesticides used during the farming process of the cotton. Which is harmful to the environment and the field workers; laws overseas are more flexible, and often companies don’t have the proper materials to protect their employees. Synthetic indigo used to dye the jeans are processed from fossil fuels. Along with the costly effects to produce the jeans, leather and microfibers are two other pollutants we see having a significant impact on the environment. Microfibers are small pieces of synthetic material that can leak into the ocean when synthetic clothing is washed. The fibers can be detrimental to us and wildlife because they have the possibility of ingesting the materials. Leather, as we all know is sourced from cattle, and farming cattle produces a ridiculous amount of methane thus adding to greenhouse gas levels.
Many people don’t recognize how impactful their purchases can be. Buying brands used with used with recycled materials or supporting a brand that is mindful of their waste helps in the long run. Fortunately, there are a few brands who make a difference in the process in which their products are made. Notable retail giants, for example, H&M has their Conscious Collection where they work to make sustainable fashion and promote recycling. ASOS has Made In Kenya, who work to create safe job opportunities in Keyna while delivering ethical fashion. Smaller brands like AYR, who recently launched an eco jean named the “Aloe Jean.” The jean is made with one cup of water and recycled denim. United By Blue, a brand who isn’t overly priced and has a range of clothing options. With every item sold they collect one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. Mayamiko make their garments based one demand, so they don’t over produce and waste fabric. Brands like these are becoming a game changer showing the rest of the industry it is possible to be successful with sustainable and eco-friendly products.
Featured Image from Mayamiko