The Real Cost of High Fashion
Following the hottest trends or self-diagnosing retail therapy have more consequences than the ones on our bank accounts or closet spaces. In fact, the truth behind the fashion industry is ugly, and looking good has become bad for the planet.
Standing just behind oil, the fashion industry is the second largest polluter. The environmental impacts are only increasing as the technology increases and trends retire. People are buying more clothes, and tossing them shortly after, faster than ever before.
According to The Economist, global clothing production has doubled in the 21st century, as sales reached almost $1.8 trillion in 2015 and brands, such as Zara or H&M, produce almost 20 new lines each year.
However, the consequences of fashion have also grown at rapid rates, with a steep environmental price tag. The industry has impacted water pollution and consumption, waste accumulation, greenhouse gas emission, soil degradation, and rainforest destruction.
In fact, according to a study by the Ellen McArthur Foundation, one garbage truck of textiles is wasted every second, more greenhouse gas emissions are generated than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, and the industry is responsible for producing over 20 percent of all wastewater – just to name a few.
In other words, it’s time for fast fashion to slow down. Not only do apparel brands need to take responsibility for their waste and the environmental consequences but the market needs to shift towards greater sustainability and a no-waste economy.
As fashion lovers, we must also take responsibility while increasing awareness and a willingness to change. So, before you order that top in a third color or toss away a ripped pair of skinny jeans, think about reducing, reusing or recycling, three trends that won’t go out of style.