Exploited Workers produce clothes overseas
Cheap clothing is produced and sold
Low prices cause shoppers to over-consume
Cheap clothing falls apart or goes out of style
Clothes are thrown away
Shoppers buy more clothing and sales increase
The world consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing each year
The average American generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year
Source: True Cost, 2020
During the Rana Plaza factory collapse [in Bangladesh], 1,138 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. -The True Cost
[About] 27 million workers in fashion supply chains worldwide are suffering from work-related illnesses and disease. There are thought to be 1.4 million injuries in fashion industry workspaces. -Common, 2018
Factory boilers that heat the water release nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxides. Carbon monoxide is released from factory sizing operations. Bleaching operations release chlorine dioxide and fabric printing releases hydrocarbons and ammonia. -Keane et al., 2017
250 million items of clothing ended up in landfills last year -BBC News 2019
20% of Earth's industrial water pollution comes from the fashion industry. -Five Figure New, 2011
1,900 minimum number of micro-plastics leached into the water supply with each washing of a fleece jacket. -Five Figure New, 2011
How to tell if a fashion brand is sustainable :
- First, Check the Materials. Materials should be made from recyclable, renewable materials like linen, hemp, Tencel or silk. Organic cotton is ok because it biodegrades and it is not GMO. It does take a lot of water to produce.
- Never Leather - No matter whether the leather comes from, killing animals, skinning, tanning and dyeing skin takes loads of energy and resources
- Visit the right sites - Websites like Rank a Brand and the Environmental Working Group determine whether or not brand is Sustainable. Another source Fashion Transparency Index (FTI) indicates which brands have shown improvement over the past few years.
- Learn about the company’s story and mission - Most companies have an about page, and may discuss everything you need to know like their story, why they support a sustainable business model, to what they do for the environment, their certification, and who made their clothes.
Affordable Sustainable Brands:
Size Inclusive Sustainable Fashion Brands
Big Pud Press
The Perennial Closet