Giorgio Armani, one of the Italian fashion legends, recently made a call to everyone urging us to make fashion more sustainable. His letter to colleagues and industry professionals was inspired by the article “Will Flood of Collections Yield to Slower Fashion?” published on WWD.
“Congratulations: The reflection on how absurd the current state of things is, with the overproduction of garments and a criminal nonalignment between the weather and the commercial season, is courageous and necessary. I agree with each and every point of it, in solidarity with the opinions expressed by my colleagues.” – Giorgio Armani commenting on unsustainable fashion production.
Feeling the pain of the Fashion Maestro, we would like to share our vision of the major challenges and solutions in the current world of clothing production and distribution.
Overproduction Fuelled by Consumerism
People consume nearly 80 billion pieces of clothing annually. This marks an increase of 400% compared to just 20 years ago.
Did you know that the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, coming second to the notorious oil industry? This number alone must make us think more of how the industry can become more sustainable.
Moreover, it is not only a source of pollution but also a very energy-consuming sector.
If Earth’s history is compared to a calendar year, modern human life has existed for 37 minutes and we have used one-third of Earth’s natural resources in the last 0.2 seconds.
How Fashion Impacts the Environment
There are at least three major dimensions in which clothing manufacturing negatively affects nature, namely:
- Water consumption. Producing garments requires nearly 100 billion cubic metres of water every year, and is estimated to reach 160 bcm in the following decade. To produce just 1kg of cotton, 22,000 litres of water are needed. This means a huge waste of resources, especially given that in countries such as India or Bangladesh some people have limited access to drinking water.
- Water pollution. In some countries, textile factories end up dumping toxic wastewater into rivers or seas. This affects not only the marine species but also the local people who either drink this water or eat fish that accumulates all those chemicals. Water contamination can have a very long-lasting health impact on the whole ecosystem.
- Synthetic. Every time synthetic garments are washed, nearly 2,000 microfibers are released into the water. This further poisons the environment added to the above-mentioned wastewater problem.
Impressive, isn’t it? And we haven’t spoken, yet, about the number of used clothes buried under the ground with no further recycling!
Ways to Make Fashion More Sustainable
Big changes start from a single person. Becoming more ecologically aware and modifying consumption behaviour can have a huge influence on the environment. Below are some suggestions on how to become more environmentally friendly while shopping for clothes and accessories.
- Shop off-price or second-hand collections. It’s not only cheaper but also helps prolong an item’s lifecycle and reduce the amount of waste. And you can always find some exclusive, high-quality things that beat any new collections!
- Choose the right fabrics. Synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester emit N02 and other poisonous chemicals, so it’s better to avoid them as much as possible. Cotton, as mentioned before, although being a natural fabric, consumes a lot of water and destroys fertile soil. In this regard, linen can come as an optimal choice, since its cultivation does not cause the same damage.
- Buy less. Although it’s a great feeling to acquire a new fashion item and receive dozens of compliments, there are ways to be more reasonable when it comes to shopping. You can always invent new ways to combine various clothes, or you can trade stuff with your best friend, change accessories, hairstyle etc. The rule of thumb is: if you buy less, you lower the demand, and thus decrease clothing production. Mother Earth will appreciate your modesty and mindfulness!
Our Values in Terms of Fashion Sustainability
As an off-price wholesale clothing trader, we strongly believe that liquidating unsold collections is the best way to avoid fashion waste and prolong clothes’ lifecycle. Moreover, as our end clients spend less on buying quality, natural clothes, they can invest this money in personal and professional development, travelling, books, sports and charity. All of the above further contributes to making this world a better place.
“With 21 million of articles sold since the start of Take Off, we are making fashion more sustainable. Together, we are reducing the destruction of unsold clothes and accessories and maximizing the lifecycle of clothes”
Alona Andruk, CEO of Take Off