Did you know that a staggering 10,000 items of clothing are sent to landfill every five minutes?
The fashion industry is the second biggest global pollutant, contributing more to increasing CO2 emissions than annual international flights and maritime shipping combined. We believe one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by reducing purchases from unethical brands or by stopping fast fashion purchases completely. Fortunately, the slow fashion movement is growing, so there is a greater variety of eco-friendly clothing available.
Here are our top reasons why what you wear matters, because we believe everyone should become a conscious fashion consumer!
Fast fashion is destroying the natural environment and reducing biodiversity
Fast fashion has devastating effects on our planet, as clothes are discarded in landfill because they are torn easily, due to being made from poor-quality material. Equally, the ‘haul’ culture means 20% of items are returned, but often not resold and hence, disposed of in landfill. Clothes left in landfill sites decompose over hundreds of years into microplastics, creating an issue for our marine life, since they ingest microplastics and die of related illnesses. Landfill sites also ruin the beautiful natural environment, as they are established on remote islands, such as those in Greece and the Maldives.
Choosing to invest in ethical brands can ensure that you are not only helping to reduce the impact of the fashion industry upon the environment, but also helping actively conserve nature and counter the effects of fast fashion, as many slow fashion brands plant a tree with each purchase or donate to charities dedicated to combating the climate crisis. At Susty Wear, we print to order, reducing unnecessary waste and use completely plastic-free packaging, which prevents destruction of the environment.
Fast fashion exploits human labour
Fast fashion brands underpay and exploit their labour force, which means that employees struggle to maintain their livelihoods and provide for their families. There has been growing awareness of the exploitation of fast fashion employees recently, since in 2020 it was revealed Boohoo paid workers four times less than the minimum wage and displayed the worst working conditions of any company. Fast fashion companies are also complicit in child exploitation, as 170 million children are engaged in child labour across the world, since they can be paid minimal wages and are quicker, making them important to employers for high clothing production.
Although slow fashion can cost more than fast fashion clothing, this is often because the clothing is of premium quality and the factory workers are paid a living wage and work in fair conditions. Susty Wear works with Fair Wear recognised manufacturing partners because Fair Wear Foundation (non-profit) ensures safe working conditions for workers in garment factories through independent audits.
Fast fashion clothing is often made from harmful and unethical materials
Fast fashion brands create their garments from not only unethical materials, but also harmful ones which can include certain chemicals, since these materials are cheap to obtain and help keep business costs low. They can prove hazardous for both the planet and also human health, since they can cause skin irritation for humans and allergic reactions such as ‘textile dermatitis.’ Slow fashion brands instead use safe materials for clothing and at Susty Wear, we use organic cotton, because it sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, and people by using natural farming processes. It also means there are no toxic chemicals in the clothes and 91% less water is used than with non-organic cotton. We recommend you always check product details before making a fashion purchase, to ensure that the clothing is actually safe for both the planet and humans.
These are just a few things to know that can help you understand why what we wear does truly matter. What else would you like to learn about sustainable fashion? Let us know!