After several years of immense criticism some fashion brands have finally chosen to take a stance against the unfair practices of the industry, including its mistreatment of the planet’s natural resources and the harm it’s doing to the environment.
In last couple of decades, fast-fashion brands have witnessed a boom in business unlike ever before. Fast-fashion brands have multiplied as they continue to penetrate new markets across the world. Unfortunately, this growth came at the expense of the environment and the exploitation of developing countries.
The majority of fast-fashion clothing is manufactured in developing nations like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam. These countries don’t have rules and regulations that protect the environment nor do they enforce labor laws that protect factory workers. As a result, fast-fashion brands are able to produce large quantities of clothing and sell them at lower prices.
Here are just some of the ways the fast-fashion industry harms the environment:
Cotton requires a lot of water to grow; a single cotton t-shirt uses 2,700 liters of water in the manufacturing process! Considering that the industry produces thousands of t-shirts every week, we’re wasting millions worth of water on producing t-shirts that consumers will discard after a few wears.
In developing nations, textile factories are lined along river shores to make it easier for factories to dispose chemical waste. However, because of the lack of regulations, the chemical waste is dumped in rivers without any treatment leaving the water contaminated and killing aquatic life.
Fast-fashion clothes make several stops before they are delivered to clothing outlets. It’s usually transported by ships which release large amount of carbon dioxide into the air.
Large quantities of fast-fashion clothing are made out of synthetic fibers which take around 200 years to decompose. Every year, millions of tons worth of clothes is dumped in landfills across the world where they take up a lot of space.
Eco-fashion refers to brands that have adopted environmentally friendly ways of production.
After investing in innovation and technology, eco-fashion brands have developed sustainable methods of manufacturing clothing. They focus on creating sustainable designs that minimize textile waste in the manufacturing process, taking community-based initiatives in developing nations, ensuring clothes are responsibly sourced and using only sustainable fabrics that are biodegradable.
As consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, brands have decided to respond positively to their concerns. If consumers invest in eco-fashion, fast-fashion brands will be forced to follow in their footsteps and focus on reducing their ecological footprint.
Whitehouse & Shapiro are leaders in the second-hand clothing industry. We buy donated used-clothes from around the US and sell it to our partners in foreign markets. Through our combined efforts, we prevent 2.5 million tons of textile waste from clogging landfills annually.