THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON FASHION
BY ALEXANDRA SEMPIE
In a fast-paced industry that is constantly moving and changing, the fashion world has quickly made a massive impact on the environment and climate change. With an annual revenue in the trillions, the fashion industry is one of the most profitable industries on the market and has also become one of the most resource intensive. From production to manufacturing and even marketing, the fashion industry has now been recognized as the second largest industrial polluter behind big oil companies.
Recent studies have found that the fashion industry’s resources have a major impact in climate change and the environment. Few people know that one of the most unsustainable products in the fashion world is cotton. Cotton production uses tons of gallons of water from growth to processing and manufacturing. Environmentalists speculate that to produce one cotton T-shirt uses up an average of 2,700 litres of water which cannot be reused.
Even after purchasing, the fashion industry still has a hand in adding to the growing problem of waste disposal. Landfills are full of clothes and accessories that, based on the material, can sometimes never be broken down. Manmade materials like polyester fibres are not biodegradable and can release micro-fibres into the soil.
While the fashion industry is one of the biggest environmental polluters, many designers and brands have taken steps to ensure their carbon footprint is reduced. Many designers are turning to more eco-friendly sustainable methods of mass producing their wares from using only recycled materials to banning the use of manmade fibres. Recently, designers have taken to using materials crafted from discarded plastics which are woven into fabrics and fibres.
The fashion industry is recognized as one of the biggest polluters on earth, but while the damage has been done, many of those in the industry are fighting to change the process and reduce their carbon footprint. Only time and persistence can change the fashion industry for the better.
Photo by Alicia Nieto Velazquez