CP & SUSTAINABILITY - Charlotte Posner

Many of you probably buy your clothes at major stores such as Primark, Topshop, Next, e.t.c because it’s cheap and easy to buy there. Their way of producing products and influencing the buyer is known as Fast Fashion, where clothing is rapidly produced by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. (in other words, big companies making clothes quickly) 

Why is this such a bad thing? Well it contributes to the exploitation of materials, workers and your wallet. Here’s how:

  • Conventional (non-organic) cotton consumes an estimated 16% of all insecticides. It requires a lot of water too! A single t-shirt’s worth of conventional cotton requires around 713 gallons (3200 litres) to grow. (source)
  • The average life expectancy of a conventional cotton farmer in India is their mid-30’s due to exposure to chemicals and pesticides. (source)
  • These pesticides can also spread to neighbouring residents, the worker’s family and children, local drinking water and animals raised for food. These pesticides can be VERY dangerous.
  • Nitrous Oxide, or Laughing Gas, is released into the atmosphere when people use synthetic fertilisers. N2O is 300 times more effective at trapping heat than it’s cousin C02 and it is currently the single biggest ozone-depleting substance. (source 1) (source 2)
  • Around 40 million garment workers around the world today face unethical and unsafe work conditions. They go through exposure to chemicals, malnutrition, discrimination, forced overtime and lack of job security. They are payed minimum wage, yet it is still barely enough to live on. The minimum wage in Bangladesh is only 18% of the national living wage. (source)
  • In the UK 300,000 Tonnes of clothing goes to landfills each year. In the US, it is 13 million tonnes. (source)
  • New clothing is released in retailers all the time to make older clothes go out of fashion quicker, so you, the buyer, will feel inclined to throw out and buy clothes more often. (source)

Chances are, you own more clothes in your wardrobe than you wear. If not, you’re either a really responsible shopper or you recently threw out all your old clothes. By reducing the amount of clothes that only spend it’s time in the closet, you’re helping slow down the fashion industry a little bit. When you buy clothes, make sure you can wear it at least 30 times. You can challenge yourself to a different outfit with the garment each time, or wear 15 different outfits twice, or 10 outfits three times.

What else can we do to help slow down the fashion industry?

  • Choose organic cotton clothing, as opposed to conventional cotton.
  • Wash and dry responsibly. Try to dry your clothes on a line more often than you machine-dry clothes as machine drying contributes massively to a garment’s carbon footprint.
  • Buy fair trade products (this applies to food products as well!)
  • Buy second hand garments from time to time, as it prevents clothes from going into landfills.
  • Any clothes that you don’t wear anymore, you can send those to charity shops, give them to your friends and family or sell them second hand.
  • Spread the work! Make sure your friends know how to shop for clothes ethically.
  • Check out https://www.beeco.green/blog/clothing-fabrics-sustainability/ for more information about sustainability, fibres and how we can choose more wisely.

To help you get inspired, here are 15 different outfits using the same shirt. How will you help save the planet and our friends? 

Written by - Amy Beers