Sustainable Fashion: an idea or a must? With the world population of 7.9 billion yearly increasing by 1,1%, we should think and choose smarter in terms of what we eat, what cars we drive, and what we wear. A little over 20000 is how many liters of water went into the creation of my T-shirts. I stare at the rest of my wardrobe. That is almost a lifetime’s worth of a person’s drinking needs if you add those jeans.
79 billion cubic meters of water per year
Fast industry = second largest polluter
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 the cultivation and processing of cotton. Half of all textiles are cotton, which is shocking when you look at the numbers. 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 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 well-being of our planet. I choose to invest my money, time, and energy towards brands with greater ecological integrity and social justice. So I started questioning my purchases as my vote for the future I wanted.
The difference between Ethical & Sustainable Fashion?
The behind the scenes
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 who grow the fabrics to the garment workers stitching items together. So let’s dig a little deeper.
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, unlike a linen shirt that will vanish in 2 weeks. To make matters worse, I found out that washing our clothes made of these synthetic fibers releases 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?
Synthetic vs natural fibers
Decoding your labels
Synthetic fibers are man-made and non-biodegradable. Polyester, for instance, is made from petroleum and holds all fabrics’ highest level of toxins. In addition, synthetics are not breathable like natural fibers. This can cause bacteria to proliferate and create an unpleasant body odor – thanks, but no thanks!
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. In addition, it’s very cost-effective because it requires less water than cotton. Have you fallen in love with linen yet?
When choosing your new outfit, opt for linen, organic hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, tencel (made from wood)
How to shop for Sustainable Fashion
Sustainable Fashion brands I swear by
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. This makes it so much easier and more affordable to shop for more durable pieces. 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. That being said, I’m always in the possibility of buying only sustainable items, but I really try.
- Spell & The Gypsy Collective
- Lylou the Label
- Bird & Kite
- Ottway the label
- Savannah Morrow The Label
- Rowie the Label
- Christy Dawn
- Studio Tia
- Hazel and Folk