The Ugly Side of Fashion

The Ugly Side of Fashion

This month, we want to highlight the devastating environmental impact the fashion industry is having on our planet. 

To help combat the crisis, please buy vintage and shop sustainable brands. The upside of buying vintage and sustainable clothing is you get better quality than today's fast fashion, and you are doing your part to help save our planet. When you have a moment, please head on over and follow @consciousstyle and listen to the podcast to learn about clothing being burned in other countries. It's all just getting really gross.  

We asked our hard-working, high school senior interns to do some research for article links, and they said it was a real we asked them to be this month’s guest bloggers. 

Isabel Heim writes: Future creators and content consumers, it is time to take action! Believe it or not we are in a huge environmental crisis. Did you know, fashion accounts for up to 10% of global carbon dioxide output which is more than international flights and shipping combined! Check out this article for reducing the carbon footprint of your wardrobe. Even the United Nations Environment Program has said we should change our ways in order to ensure the survival of the planet. But don't take my word for it, take theirs instead!

It is so dire to change, that we need Sustainable Development Goals to be a part of everyday life. Without the mindful thoughts of thinking beyond prevailing patterns and living within sustainable limits, our perfect world will end up becoming a plastic ocean which will outweigh fish by 2050. This article really opened my eyes. To put it into perspective, Americans throw out more than 34 billion pounds of clothing each year, which is creating and adding to the global warming crisis. Read more here.

Coming from a younger generation, I have heard the comments about the global crisis. Saying things such as “the earth is now in your hands” and “your generation must fix what has been broken”. How can one generation change a whole world of issues, if the people who seem to be older are not taking any responsibility. This is not just an environmental crisis anymore, it’s a global crisis. What stance will you take on sustainable clothing? More data means more informed decisions, and you can get lots of data here.

Zachary Golin writes: Climate change, in general, is the result of rampant industry. The textile industry is no exception, and not a small player when it comes to waste. It all comes down to the “Fast Fashion” business model: Get consumers to buy as much as possible, as fast as possible. This model generates incredible revenue, but at the cost of using more materials. What happens to the clothes after production? They are either purchased, used, and thrown away, or they’re not purchased, and thrown away anyways. The sheer volume of clothing that the industry produces, and all the resources involved, put incredible strain on landfills, power grids, water supplies, and people. For those who wish to dive incredibly deep, this paper by Kirsi Niinimäki et al. may be of interest: The environmental price of fast fashion.

But there are many ways to fight back, many discussed in this beautiful article by the Center for Ecotechnology: The Monster in our Closet: Fast Fashion & Textile Waste on the Rise. For those here in California, CalRecycle has had a workshop discussing all of the topics above, recorded and uploaded to YouTube: Textiles - CalRecycle Home Page.

The important part of the Fast Fashion model is that it relies on the consumer’s impulse to buy, on people wanting something new, but people don’t always need new, and that’s what we’re all about. 

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