The clothing industry is one of the largest polluters’ in the world. The impact of the clothing industry on our planet is worrisome. When many of us think of pollution or contamination, we tend to think of vehicles polluting the air, industrial waste discharged irresponsibly into water bodies and plastics piling up in landfills. Hold on! Have we ever paused to think that the clothes that we wear and then discard at a whim causes enormous damage to our planet? There is truth when ecological experts confirm that the overall impact of the clothing and the apparel industry on the environment is grim and needs awareness and revolution.
Fast fashion and the trend of disposable clothing
Fast fashion means contemporary fashion where designs and trends move from ramps into stores rather quickly. The essence of fast fashion clothing is to make couture affordable. Hence, the shelf life of a piece of clothing is limited. New trends and styles are introduced every now and then. The clothing industry flourishes because of an increasing demand for fashionable clothes among the urban population. The industry has cut throat competition. It has been successful in promoting brand values and the need to create and maintain a certain image among its customers. The new millennium has seen dramatic changes in lifestyle choices. The fashion conscious public are those strategic consumers who have a keen interest in fashion and those who buy what they but to cope with peer pressure. With a lot of information available about new clothing trends and the glamour attached to it the public is influenced and tempted quite successfully to purchase more and more clothes.
Impact of fast fashion on environment
The clothing and apparel industry is complex with its multifarious supply chains of raw material, textile manufacture and the final stage of converting into actual clothing and apparel. Shipping the end product to the retails markets, the actual use of the garment and finally discarding of the garment means that the industry leaves considerable carbon footprint at every stage of its production, consumption and disposal. Here is a general outline of the number of ways in which indiscriminate manufacture and consumption of clothing can impact the ecological balance:
- Cotton is one of those crops grown where there has been an indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilisers which deplete the soil of its nutrients.
- Manmade fibres such as nylon and polyester are non-biodegradable and are very water and energy hungry.
- The clothing industry by and large indiscriminately uses a lot of natural resources like water, energy, wood pulp, etc. causing an imbalance in the environment.
- Chemical dyes that are used to bleach and colour the garments also pollute the environment.
- Old clothes that we discard consumes a lot of space in landfills.
- In many places the working conditions and wages paid in the textile and clothing industry are sub-human and sub-standard.
No wonder environmentalists worry about the negative effects of the textile wastes year after year.
In such an environment it is necessary to create an awareness among consumers, designers and the clothing conglomerate as a whole about developing a sustainable and ethical model. The industry needs to take radical action if it wishes to reform this impending disaster. With a lot of light being thrown on the negative impact of the clothing industry on the environment, there is a growing band of consumers who crave a change for the better. People want something different, something sustainable and eco-friendly. This means we have it in us to pave the way for a different trend.
Reuse, recycle and reinvent
The most effective way to reduce textile waste is to reuse. Donate or reuse clothes that are in wearable condition. Reinvent your wardrobe and personal style. Use your creativity to style the same piece of cloth in different ways using accessories and knick-knacks. Recycling is the need of the hour for the clothing and the apparel industry. Several big players in the clothing and the fashion industry are now http://www.teejunction.com.au/ striving to find new ways of turning old clothes into new. In fact slowly but steadily there is growing research by leading brands to develop a sustainable eco-friendly garment recycling technology. A garment that is reused or recycled saves the cost of the new one produced. Innovation in the form of reinvention, reuse and recycling is the most pressing need of the day.