When we think of pollution and hazardous waste, images of sewage being dumped into the ocean and rivers and smoke being emitted by cars and industries generally come to mind. We don’t think that maybe the clothes on our backs are one of the culprits as well.
The fashion industry has long been accused of leaving a strong carbon footprint in its wake, but not many steps have been taken to overcome that. Sure sustainable, eco-fashion is trending on the down-low, but the majority of the planet’s population still adheres to the flashy and toxic world of fast fashion.
Everything from raw material production, in which toxic pesticides are sprayed on crops, to the manufacturing process, in which chemically toxic dyes are used, contributes to create an environmentally unsafe industry.
So, why is it that big brands are not doing enough to bring eco-fashion into the mainstream?
Perhaps the reason why many big fast fashion brands aren’t embracing the eco-fashion trend is because the production of sustainable clothing is a bit more expensive than churning out synthetic mass-produced clothing items.
Organic crops with a low-impact carbon footprint are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or toxic pesticides. Being certifiably organic requires companies to follow strict federal guidelines. This requires the clothing brands to pay more to mill recycled or all-organic fabrics.
Since many big brands don’t mass produce environmentally conscious clothes, they are more expensive and thus, there is a lesser demand for them in the market.
Many big brands are more concerned with producing fashion-forward merchandise rather than eco-friendly products. Aesthetics over ethics seems to be the fashion mantra for many. The fashion industry runs on trend after trend every year. And sustainable fashion is not always trending, although it should be.
Most fast fashion retailers are all about pandering to the masses and creating fashion apparel that is geared more toward the aesthetics rather than the sustainability side of things.
Blame can’t be placed on the retailers alone as consumers want the latest trend at the lowest price possible. We would rather buy a $15 regular t-shirt than a $30 organically made one. To fulfill consumer’s insatiable urge for more clothes, retailers produce clothing items en masse, and they dispose them just as fast.
Perhaps, fashion enthusiasts aren’t really aware of the huge price they’re paying when they trade off eco-fashion for fast fashion, which just goes to show how more awareness is needed on the topic.