It’s Time for Fashion to Fight Climate Change
• Fast fashion has made it easy to buy cheap and trendy clothes, but it’s also one of the contributors to global warming.
• Purchasing high quality and long-lasting clothes can help reduce environmental impact at 20 -30%.
• Unused clothes are disposed at landfill or incinerated, adding pollution in the air.
• Fabric dye can compromise the quality of water sources, damaging aquatic life and drinking water.
• Major companies are looking for ways to recycle denim fabrics or even use denim that biodegrades quickly, so they can be composted for use as a fertilizer.
Fast fashion has made it fun to buy cheap and trendy new clothes, triggering our emotional desire to acquire a new stylish clothing item. But you’ve worn it once and left it hanging in your closet, filling the space with pieces of unworn clothing. As enjoyable as it may be, fast fashion is one of the reasons that our world is facing the greatest environmental challenge of all time, global warming. “The number of times you wear a piece of clothing can make a big difference to the overall carbon footprint.” is a great reminder to everyone that shopping behaviors do have an impact on the environment. And, if you purchase high quality clothing that are long-lasting, you can do your part to help reduce environmental impact by 20-30%. Other ways to reduce carbon footprint are fixing small blemishes, rather than making excuses to buy more, as well as swapping clothes with friends to refresh your wardrobe.
On the surface, it’s often believed that the “fashion industry” and “global warming” are unrelated to one another. In reality, however, the fashion industry makes a significant contribution to climate change. According to the BBC, the fashion industry is responsible for about 8-10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater, higher than both aviation and maritime shipping industries combined. At the same time, unused clothes are disposed at landfill or incinerated, adding more pollutants in the air.
What’s more, the production process of apparel leads to wasteful use of resources. To give you an idea, a single denim jean requires 1 kilogram of cotton. About 7,500 – 10,000 liters of water are required to produce cotton since they are grown in dry environments. That’s roughly 10 years’ worth of drinking water for a single person. Fabric dyeing process also compromises the quality of water sources, damaging aquatic life and drinking water.
How can the fashion industry reduce global warming?
All industries have a responsibility to address global warming. In the case of denim jean production, major companies in the fashion supply chain are looking for ways to recycle denim fabrics or even use biodegradable denim that can be composted as a fertilizer. More innovations are also emerging to help craft apparels such as biocouture, or fashion made from environmentally friendly materials. Furthermore, fashion innovations are growing fast with some companies now using natural materials such as wood to produce textiles. Meanwhile, others are figuring alternative ways of dyeing fabrics or biodegradable materials that easily break down once disposed.
Catch up with more exciting stories, trends and technologies at GFT 2022, from 22-25 June 2022, BITEC, Bangkok.
• Can fashion ever be sustainable?, BBC
• 4 Ways Brands Can Reduce Climate Impact, Common Objective