A little over 20000. That’s how many liters of water went into the production of the few T-shirts owned by yours truly. I stare at the rest of my wardrobe. That’s almost a lifetime worth of person’s drinking needs if you add those jeans.
A simple molecule called water sets the foundation for all forms of life and countless industries. That includes the fashion biz. It uses a whopping 79 billion cubic meters of water per year for cultivation and processing of cotton. Knowing half of all textiles are actually made of cotton is alarming. Cotton is the most widespread profitable non-food crop in the world. So, it creates an income for over 250 million people worldwide. It uses 3 percent of the total amount of water consumed by agriculture alone.
In addition, it’s not a secret that fast fashion is the second largest polluter in the world. The oil industry comes first. As you can see, our everyday choices play a huge role in sustainability and the wellbeing of our planet. I now, instead of running to a chain store, choose to invest my money, time and energy towards brands with greater ecological integrity and social justice. I started questioning my purchases as my vote towards the future I wanted. This is what I have learned.
Now, what does sustainable fashion actually mean? And what are the eco-conscious brands to look out for?
Sustainable or Slow Fashion is the polar opposite of Fast Fashion. It promotes an organic, intentional and more holistic approach to product design & fabric sourcing, which results in durable, high-quality end products and less industrial waste. Ethical Fashion focuses on the people behind the scenes, from the farmers that grow the fabrics to the garment workers stitching items together. Let’s dig a little deeper…
First, let’s talk about Fabric
Deep cleaning my closet resulted in a rather unexpected journey. I fell down the rabbit on how to research the fashion industry, the fabrics they use, and the impact they have on the environment. Who knew I would turn into a girl that checks the labels instead of the price tags. Call it the day I stopped shopping at big box stores and checked in with the depressing reality concerning our Fashion Industry.
Here are a few shocking facts. It takes about 200 years for a polyester shirt to decompose, as opposed to a linen shirt that will vanish in 2 weeks. To make the matters worse, I found out that by washing our clothes made of these synthetic fibers; they release 9 million microfibers in every wash. The fibers then travel from our clothes straight into the wastewater. Wait, why are we not screaming this from the rooftops?
- AVOID SYNTHETIC MATERIALS LIKE POLYESTER, NYLON, ACRYLIC, ETC.
Synthetic fibers are man-made and non-biodegradable. Polyester, for instance, is made from petroleum and holds the highest level of toxins of all fabrics. Synthetics are not breathable like natural fibers. This can cause bacteria to proliferate and create an unpleasant body odor – thanks, but no thanks!
- OPT FOR LINEN, ORGANIC HEMP, ORGANIC COTTON, TENCEL (MADE FROM WOOD PULP), BAMBOO.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of durable options to save your body from suffocating. Linen, for example, is biodegradable, recyclable, and doesn’t require the use of pesticides. It’s very cost effective because it requires less water than cotton. Have you fallen in love with linen yet?
Secondly, let’s shop
Thrift Shopping in Australia is nothing like thrift shopping in Europe. I hate to admit it, but the Europeans are running behind on the physical stores. That’s the reason Vinted came to life. The smartphone app is an online marketplace for buying, selling and exchanging new or secondhand items, clothing and accessories. If you prefer to build your collection with something new, here are a few of my favorite sustainable/ethical brands. Oh, also check out the tool GOODONYOU that measures the environmental impact of brands.
- EVERYDAY WEAR
- BEACH + WORKOUT
- BASICS & UNDERWEAR