Society is most consuming off at a very high rate is Fast Fashion. The demand for cheap clothes always surpasses the supply side leading to disparity of the environment and global economics due to unregulated pollution and violation of human rights at each and very step in the Fashion Industry.
The glittery vibrant colored clothes hanging on to mannequins behind tall glass walls on the city streets gives us the illuminating vision of branded style and trends that is ever changing which is the only constant. Meaning on the consumers’ side garments are bought, worn for less than a season soon to become obsolete and thrown away which helps in restocking the wardrobe with more junky clothes again. Nobody cares about how does the production takes place, who is in the supply chain, how do our garments reach the stores, do the well known brands really give employment or under that pretext they exploit the less fortunate. So many questions left unanswered, but we conveniently and ignorantly fill our shopping bags. Companies due to this reason extravagantly expense on marketing techniques branding their cheap quality clothes whose origin and consequence is unknown and uncertain advocating the “Fast Fashion” pitch.
Do you know the impacts of Fast fashion that has led to a destruction to a whole new level to our society, community and environment as a whole.
Fast Fashion - A debacle!!
Effects of Growing GMO Cotton:- Cotton is grown over 100 countries and employing around 250 million people around the world. India being the second largest producer of this fibre reflecting 60% of the Indian textile cotton based. Cotton being the most thirsty crop consuming around 10,000 ltrs of water to grow just 1kg of fibre. The life expectancy of farmers growing GMO cotton is mid 30’s due to the chemical exposure on the job. Between 26 million to 77 million agricultural workers around the world suffer from pesticide poisoning.
Around 8,000 synthetic chemicals are discharged in freshwater sources which is also a major fashion industry water footprint to turn raw materials into final garments.
The effects of dried Aral Sea (as big as half of England) which is situated between Kazakstan and Uzbekistan had on the locals with tuberculosis and lung cancer. Along with the radical climatic changes in the country.
The Noyyal river in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu in India was spilling out toxic foams onto the streets showing that the waterbody has been polluted over the years due to dyeing and bleaching processes as Tirupur is known as the Textile Valley. Total Dissolved Solid levels (TDS) of the waterbody was over 3,000 which meant “Toxic and Lethal”. The river has gone from being a refuge to the villagers living on its banks, to a source of toxicity and even cancer.
Satellite images showed effluent spreading in the sea like a huge black cloud which later researched by Greenpeace was a company or should I say a “Polluter” Wubao Dyeing factory near Chinese city of Shishi made export quality Chinese children wear. After detection, a coctail of chemicals were found in the sea like nonyl phenol, cholorbenzenses and many more.
Leather is also a big time consumer of water, demanding enormous amount of it as leather has a big market in footwear, clothing, auto upholstery, home furnishing and other miscellaneous uses. After converting skins into leather the water containing chromium, sulphides is flushed back into the rivers which is also used by the villagers to bathe, drink and water the crops. Evidence suggests that, Chromium levels in Kanpur has reached its maximum by processing 16-18 Mn hides a year, whilst tanneries produce 30 Mn ltrs of water waste per day. Such chromium laced dump in wastewater can damage the fish gills, incite respiratory problems, infections, infertility and birth defects. It can also cause serious cancer in animals throughout the food chain.
According to EPA, 13.1 Mn tons of textiles are trashed each year, while only 15% of them are reused or recycled.
According to Mckinsey & Company reports, if 80% of the emerging markets achieve Western levels of per capita consumption, the clothing industry in emerging markets would have serious environmental impact by 2025. As estimated Carbon Dioxide emissions will be higher by 77%, Water consumption will go up by 20% and Land use will increase by 7%.
Being second highest polluting to Oil Industry, Fashion Industry as we can relate to the examples above has caught the attention of many. What should stem out of every individual after reading this, is stern indignation against the governance and against big companies not ready to change their manufacturing processes where they could reclaim more than 90% of the chemicals in the closed loop process or through combustion. Companies need time, efforts and money to do the rightful thing but money importantly is not shelled out for environmental protection.
As we can say its never too late to start doing what is indeed needed to be done. Small, indie and few luxury companies slowly but surely have started embracing the idea of Sustainability as the protocol in their work ethics. As some of them really want to make a difference others have the agenda to keep up the reputation and fair well at the stock market. But we do appreciate the efforts of those luxury labels who have come up with the revolution of Slow Fashion Movement like Eileen Fisher, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Gucci changed their garment making process into an environment friendly one combining ethics and aesthetics as their business agenda.
Its not only the brands that have to change but even the mindsets of end consumers has to be changed. There should be awareness through campaigns, programs, educational speeches in schools, colleges, in every field of education where we can reach the maximum population keeping these conversations alive, come up with solutions, brainstorming on designing and technology with continuous research and development until we come up with Sustainable processes. Our organized collective decisions will impact the entire fashion industry globally having a complete positive turnaround.
I want to perceive a brighter and better future for Fashion Industry, so together lets turn it into reality.