If you have yet to hear the term 'sustainable fashion' tossed around a group of people, we are truly astonished. It seems as though everyone nowadays is consistently discussing the concept of 'sustainable fashion'. So, what is it and why is it so important?
1. The Exposed Truth Behind the Fashion Industry
This emerging concept stems from the abrupt discovery of the horrible truth behind the fashion industry. With the Internet and the ease of Google searches, we as consumers are asking questions at a rate like never before. Everyone wants to know where something came from and how it was produced. These questions led to not-so-good answers from the fashion industry.
The fashion industry contributes heavily to carbon emissions, natural resource extraction, greenhouse gases, toxic chemical dyes, clothing in landfills, unsafe/unjust working conditions, and absurd water consumption.
For one, it's carbon emissions are so large it is actually impossible to calculate. In addition, millions of pounds of clothing are added to landfills each year. In the United States, the average person throws away around 80 pounds of clothes each year.
2. There are real people behind your clothes
Have you ever stopped to consider how a company could be profiting when it sells you a shirt for $5.50? How is there enough money within those margins to help pay for the worker who sewed and created your garment? There isn't. It isn't enough.
More than 60% of the world's clothing is manufactured in developing countries, with Asia being the major producer with more than 32% of the world's supply. Clothing companies manufacture in these countries because it is cheaper.
In India, a garment worker earns between $0.43 to $4.32 USD per day, but the majority earn under $2.00. In Pakistan, that average wage drops down to $1.00. The typical hours for a textile industry employee ranges from 10 to 18 hours per day and adds up to 80 hours per week, requiring additional overtime hours to meet the companies strict deadlines.
Think back to 2013 when the garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing over 1,100 people. This is an example of the neglect made by big fashion companies.
3. We are in a Climate Emergency
As mentioned before, the fashion industry plays a big role when it comes to environmental factors. Although it may surprise you, fashion has a huge impact on Greenhouse Gases. Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world's polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. Not to mention, it takes more than 200 years to decompose.
Lots of our clothing is made from petrochemicals, polyester and nylon. These textiles are not biodegradable and their manufacturing process uses great amounts of energy.
In sum, sustainable fashion is important because the entire industry needs to change drastically. We need to make sustainable fashion more accessible and define it as the norm. Supporting brands like those found here on Normou are a crucial step into ensuring that sustainable fashion is the new and only way to shop.