Years ago, consumer behavior was relatable to slow fashion. Ladies would cherish their clothing and would handcraft new ones when necessary. As years passed by, the fashion evolution took away the magical moments of having a single favorite dress in the entire wardrobe. Today, millions of new garments produced daily to satisfy the infinite desires of the fashionistas around the globe. In most cases, they don't even have a chance to wear out the hot trendy pieces, which end up hanging in the generous walk-in closets and eventually go to waste.
Slow fashion described as conscious consumerism. It brings back the principles of sustainability and transparency when it comes to production methods that always uphold high ethical standards.
Let's stop romanticizing slow fashion and the apparent benefits that the movement brings to the table. Let's not forget that sustainable clothing is also less accessible and way more expensive, while many retailers offer fashionable pieces for the price of a meal.
So why bother going for slightly less convenient options?
Here is why…
1. Children shouldn't make your clothes.
152 million children fall under the child labor category, 64 million girls, and 88 million boys. 40 million in modern slavery and an estimated 25 million people were in forced labor.
The fast-fashion norms require a high percentage of labor to produce in-demand styles quickly and in large quantities. Approximately one-third of children aged 5 to 14 engaged in child labor are outside the education system. Their work hours exceed the 9-hour mark a day.
2. Clothing production and disposal shouldn't be the reason for global warming.
"There is this cute expression in China that you know the color in fashion next season by the colors of the rivers in China." Says Linda Greer, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defence Council.
Fashion appears to be one of the most polluting industries in the world. The textile industry alone produces more gas emissions than the aviation and shipping industries combined.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came up with a possible pathway to limit the global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius, emissions of greenhouse gases need to fall 45% by 2030. However, If nothing changes, the industry CO2 emissions are projected to increase by more than 60 percent by 2030.
Currently, over 8 percent of greenhouses gas emissions are produced by the apparel industry. If the industry continues on its path, by 2050, it could use more than 26 percent of the total global carbon budget, and millions of people that risk entering the middle class around the world.
What can I do to help?
Learn more about sustainable fashion. Adjust your habit. Spread awareness. Consume consciously.
3. Clothing shouldn't show signs of "wear and tear" after a few wearings.
Some synthetic fabrics could be extremely durable. However, The pilling effect that appears after just a few wearings cannot remain unmentioned. The garment produced using synthetic fibers shortening its lifetime drastically.
Sustainable clothing made to serve its wearer longer, spread ecological integrity and social justice. So what makes clothing sustainable? Well, many things.
But first and foremost, the fabric content of the garment. Organic or recycled cotton, linen, silk, hemp, wool, Tencel, and many more, are considered sustainable and eco - friendly materials.
4. Water shouldn't be wasted.
It takes about 2,720 liters of water to make ONE cotton T-shirt. It's equivalent to one person drinking water for three years. I'm sure you raised your brows.
Growing the cotton for just one pair of jeans requires 1,800 gallons of water, and an additional 2,900 gallons to manufacture the finished and dyed pair. Stitch those numbers to the footprint of harvesting raw materials, assembling them into textiles, and shipping the finished products overseas. These are some pretty alarming ecological hazards.
Alternatively, organic cotton uses 91 percent less 'blue' water that streams from groundwater, freshwater lakes, and rivers. What automatically turns it to a water-efficient choice.
When it comes to jeans, things can get complicated. Jeans has to be washed and bleached multiple times to achieve the designed color. To eliminate some steps of the process, fashion companies came up with innovative technology, including laser equipment, to cut down on the amount of water needed for washing and bleaching by up to 65 percent.
5. You shouldn't eat plastic.
Fast fashion is a massive generator of microplastic that is polluting the oceans. How is something micro can be a big deal?
Microfibres released from clothing made of synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, every time clothes washed. Each wash will shed 700,000 microfibers. That is how the cycle works; microfibers released to the ocean, consumed by aquatic organisms, which are eaten by fish, which are eaten by us! So these synthetic and extremely cheap clothes are one of the sources putting plastic into our food chain.
Aside from that, the production of polyester releases two to three times more carbon emissions than cotton. Considering that polyester does not break down in the ocean, the perspectives aren't promising.