Reading Time: 6 minutes

HOW CAN WE CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY? 

The fashion industry is loved for its ability to reflect changes in the world through changing clothing trends. But what is hidden behind it?

Words By Daria Müller Velasquez

10/03/2021

Via @pinterest

The Environmental Impact
of Fast Fashion

It is well known that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, causing serious damage not only to the environment but also to parts of our planet and many countries. In recent years, the environmental impact of the fashion industry has increased dramatically. This is primarily due to the fact that with the advent of fast fashion – the process of making clothes as quickly as possible, cheaper, and usually of lower quality -, the clothing production cycle has accelerated to the point that consumers can shop until they buy their own. 

At first glance, fast fashion might seem like a great solution for the entire industry, since at such low prices, everyone can enjoy changing trends without damaging their wallet. However, these fast cycles of production and consumption of fashionable apparel are causing disruptions, including increased textile waste, from production and consumption to recycling. In addition, the fashion and textile industries use large volumes of water, energy, chemicals, and raw materials throughout the supply chain, so the value of the earth’s natural resources is increasing. To make matters worse, during the manufacture of clothing, significant amounts of chemical pollutants, carbon dioxide, and other toxic substances enter the water, soil, and air. 

The negative environmental impact of the fashion industry does not end when a garment is beautifully hung in a retail store, someone buys it, and then the buyer unpacks it at home. This continues during the garment use phase, where the consumer washes, dries, iron, and cleanses their garments and then usually throws them into landfills instead of reusing or recycling them.

Vivienne Westwood SS19
Buy Less, Dress Up

Vivienne Westwood SS19
Buy Less, Dress Up

Textile Waste

The fashion and textile industries generate textile waste during production and consumption. Today, textile waste, due to its huge amount, is becoming a serious environmental problem. With the development of fast fashion, the pace of production increases, which, in turn, affects the formation of a huge amount of textile waste. All over the world, textile waste comes from factories and also ends up in landfills from household cupboards. Unfortunately, the rate of recovery of recyclable textiles remains relatively low, despite the fact that textiles are considered almost 100% recyclable or recyclable.

What can we do
to save our planet

However, despite all these challenges, we still believe in the positive power of fashion! How can we change this situation? How can we save our planet from pollution? Here are some practical tips: 

  • Choose organic and natural fibers that do not require chemicals to be produced. 
  • Choose fibers with low water consumption such as flax, recycled fiber, etc. 
  • Choose soil-friendly fibers. 
  • Choose sustainable brands. 
  • Look for garments with chemical control certification labels such as OEKO-TEX®, GOTS, or BLUESIGN®. 
  • Choose Lyocell/Tencel®over viscose, modal, or rayon. 
  • Buy less, buy better quality, mend and recycle clothes.