Crossing the Line: Fashion vs. Environment

 
Featured photo.jpg
 

We all tend to get instantly mesmerized by the new fashion collection the very second it gets dropped out of catwalk. There is something hidden deep into every shopper’s head that gives them that uncontrollable urge to buy new items just because they are fresh and new. Or maybe because a celebrity is rocking that style. But before you head out to the closest fashion store for those irresistible deals, stop and think of what clothes you don’t wear and would end up throwing away.

Believe it or not, manufacturers tend to use various chemicals in order to produce cheap apparel which results in water and soil pollution, more toxic waste and other negative environmental impacts. Even if some people still don't think of this issue as a big deal, statistics and research have proven that the situation is far worse than they initially thought. Therefore, we should all ask ourselves: do we need that extra shirt in pink? Are we crossing the line when buying the clothes that we don’t need?


The alert signal

In-text photo Fashion Overconsumption.jpg

Due to the fact that our consumption habits rise faster, the fashion industries are simply forced to produce more to stay on track with the competitive market. As we buy a piece of garment, we are not aware of its harmful effect that very moment, but the first alert signal should be the price. 

You can definitely tell that a shirt is made out of toxic chemicals that pollute waterways if you have paid it 70% cheaper. Next, all vibrant and colorful apparel that also have prints and fabric finishes might be rather alluring for passionate fashion lovers, but textile dyeing is the second-largest polluter of water on the planet. All chemicals used to produce dyes are hazardous and end up in the oceans.

The negative effects on the environment

By quickly disposing of some piece of clothing, we unconsciously impact the environment. The overconsumption leads to fast discarding of clothing made out of non-biodegradable fabrics, which can sit in landfills up to 200 years. 

The toxic chemicals enter the soil in which we grow crops and plan food, they pollute the drinking water as well as the aquatic world. What is more, if the garbage disposal of old clothes is burnt, then air pollution is unfortunately eminent.

In-text photo Environment and water pollution.jpg

A breath of fresh air

Luckily, some brands and companies are aware of how hazardous the fashion industry can be towards the environment. For instance, Rockay is an environmentally-conscious brand. Rockay’s team sources the fabrics for their products solely from ocean waste. Buying products from any brand and company that uses eco-friendly and recycled materials will positively contribute to the preservation of the planet’s natural resources.

Furthermore, a good option is also to buy organic cotton. Even if organic cotton represents less than 1% of the world’s total annual cotton crop, resorting to buying one environmentally-conscious product is still smarter than getting five poor-quality and toxic ones.

The vicious economic circle

Nowadays, it is more lucrative to buy a new shirt than to repair it. Very often, we think that if we see a good bargain in the stores and buy three shirts for the price of one, we are extremely lucky because we got a quality product for a cheaper price. Wrong. 

You will never spend less on fashion, actually, if you pay something half the price, you are paying the right amount. This is how big corporations earn a lot of money. And what are we left with?

  • Cheap and poor-quality polyester which sheds plastic microfibers that easily makes their way to drinking water and marine life when washed in domestic washing machines.

  • Pesticide-enriched cotton which requires an insane amount of water to make only one cotton T-shirt (precisely 2,700 liters of water).

  • Deforestation, which is arising due to gathering the materials needed for wood-based fabrics like rayon, modal, and viscose.

All in all, we need to get our heads together and strive to buy more sustainable apparel or at least try not to buy in bulk clothes that harm the planet. This will only be the start of a long and demanding process of preserving our precious planet.





Future of fashion industry: hopefully a bit more circular

circular-economy-fashion-main-1-1200x800.jpg

In the Future We Won’t Own Clothes, We’ll Rent Them

It’s no secret that consumerism is trashing the planet, and the fashion industry is a big part of the problem. There’s a growing corner of the industry that’s committed to less harmful practices, but as it stands, that’s not really enough — not only is global warming and pollution spiralling out of control, but we’re running out of resources tool...  Read more: www.highsnobiety.com/2017/08/02/circular-economy-fashion/

 

 

The dirty face of the leather industry

The dirty face of the leather industry

Leather is a controversial fiber. First of all, it is not an animal-friendly option, since it is made of dead animal skin. However, the skin used to make leather comes from animals raised for their meat. In that sense, it uses a byproduct from another industry, so it doesn’t actually need additional land and resources.

But environmental and social concerns related to leather are mostly linked to the tanning process:  Toxic chemicals are used (chromium in 80% of cases) to transform the skins into wearable leather.

Those substances are often dumped into rivers, polluting freshwater and oceans. Also, most of the tanning factory workers around the world do not wear adequate protection and suffer from skin, eye, and respiratory diseases, cancer and more due to their exposure to chemical substances.  

Also many children work in tanneries.

"Chrome-free" leather, which usually means aldehyde-tanned or vegetable-tanned, is an alternatives to chrome-tanned leather. However, it has been proven that its environmental impact is very similar to chrome-tanned leather.

Vegan leather is usually made of PVC or  polyurethane, which are synthetic fibers that have a similar environmental impact to polyester. It is certainly better for animal welfare, but it is not an eco-friendly option.

However, some plant-based substitutes of leather exist, such as the pineapple fiber.

The good news is that some sustainable leather options are starting to appear. There are not many options in the market yet, but they do exist. These include Ecolife™ by Green Hides, which creates eco-friendly, chrome-free leather in Italian tanneries that recycle and purify wastewater.

 

Follow @sustainyourstyl on Twitter