Do you consider yourself to be a fashion diva, someone whose friends turn to for tips and advice on how to look trendy? Are you renowned for your cheap online shopping skills?
If that’s you, awesome! We exist solely for people like you.
But have you ever stopped and wondered how these gorgeous clothes that you buy are actually made? We never give much thought to where the clothes that we wear come from, right? Come, let’s go on a little journey into the world of textiles.
Some fashion industry facts
Every year the world produces nearly 60 billion kilograms of fabric. That is a serious amount of fabric for the entire population of the world. From these 60 billion kilograms a staggering 150 billion individual garments are fashioned, enough to give every single person in the world 20 new clothes every year.
Wow, impressive, right? However there’s a tragic edge to this numbers story.
After the food and beverages industry, the textile industry is the most sought-after manufacturing product industry. But do you also know that the textiles industry has a massive impact on the environment and climate change, and has a gigantic carbon footprint?
Every year, more than 70 million trees are sacrificed on the altar of fashion. These logged woods are turned into fabric that we wear every day.
How does the conversation take place?
By utilising 8,000 different types of synthetic chemicals, which convert the raw materials into textiles. The amount of chemicals that the textile industry alone consumes contributes to 25% of the chemicals produced in the world.
And where do you think the chemicals go? Into the water. Only 2.5% of our planet’s entire water is fresh water, and of that barely 0.3% is accessible to humans. The textile industry is the second largest polluter of our fragile freshwater ecosystems. And when it messes with that, indirectly we’re messing with that.
If that wasn’t enough, the fashion industry consumes 6-9 trillion litres of water each year to make all its products. Do you know how much water your simple cotton t-shirt drinks up? 2,700 litres. Imagine that!
For the chemicals and the water to do their stuff on fabric, you need heat. Something to the tune of 132 million metric tons of coal is burned annually during the manufacturing process that includes the production of natural and synthetic fibres, and the dyeing and bleaching of the garments. We cannot even begin to comprehend the amount of carbon emissions that kind of fuel burning must be clocking up.
Add to this the cost and environmental damage of transport, not to mention, cheap labour and you will suddenly feel the weight of that light-as-air cotton top that you just bought yesterday.
“But I need clothes!”, you might lament. Undoubtedly we all do; it’s one of our most basic needs and we need the industry.
The fashion industry churns out new styles and new colours for the season, and suddenly almost everything in the wardrobe is old and we need a new set of clothes. What do you think happens to the clothes that are discarded?
Unfortunately, of the 150 billion individual garments that are manufactured every year, over 90 million items of clothing make their way to a landfill, to lie there waiting to decompose. And many of them while in near-mint condition. Shocking, isn’t it?
Cotton is the least culpable of them all, decomposing in 2-4 months (but it also needs the most chemicals). Synthetic fibres, like nylon, rayon and spandex could take as long as 30-40 years! And imagine adding millions upon millions of those garments to the earth every year. No wonder the world is choking!
Yes, you need to purchase new clothes, but it is the earth that is paying the price for your fashion sensibilities. Is there any way that you can bring down these costs, without losing your fashion quotient?
The solution is pre-owned clothing
Pre-owned or pre-loved clothes can contribute in reducing our carbon footprint. Extending the life of clothes just by a few months can reduce carbon footprint by 5-10%. And preventing even 1 kilogram of used clothing from reaching the landfill can help save up to 3.6kgs of CO2 emissions.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by shopping for exclusive styles and all the latest fashion labels at kiabza.com, one of the best online shopping sites for clothes. Here you will get trendy work clothes on a budget, and that too without stepping out of home.
Take your wardrobe on a little shopping trip. You will come back with more clothes than imagined, at prices lower than you can possibly imagine, and you will save the planet too. All in one simple step.