‘’Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year. And washing some types of clothes sends thousands of bits of plastic into the ocean’’ (Weforum, 2020). Here are my fashion rambles.
Something needs to be changed at a global level, we need better laws for the environment immediately but big companies seem to be stuck in their own world, companies like H&M, but I think manufacturers are happy nonetheless. Good for their business, yes, but the masses of plastics, even car tires and fishing nets floating in our oceans, the clothes that end up in landfill annually are actually bad news, the kind of bad news big companies don’t look at.
The fashion industry can drive change fast if they choose to, they referring to Zara, Asos, H&M. ‘’In total, up to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year. That’s enough to fill the Sydney harbor annually.’’(op.cit.), and ‘’In Europe, fashion companies went from an average offering of two collections per year in 2000 to five in 2011.’’ So it seems we tend to get bored of what we wear too quickly for the environment to keep up.
One reason for companies not to invest in sustainable supply chains and processes is simple: it costs more money. It does have a long-term advantage though that probably gets dismissed. The revenues they get from five collections a year must be too nice to even risk. Worse, greenwashing is a growing trend. I had a look at greenwashing in Year 1 for a report, where I researched Simple Skincare brand. Greenwashing in skincare was more evident to me than in fashion until I read from several sources that H&M’s Conscious Collection isn’t so conscious.
Bravery is needed to ‘’the ‘fast’ element of their approach’’ (Well Made Clothes, 2019). Who knows how long it will take them to realized that YES, you can be sustainable and make beautiful clothes in superb prints, patterns, sizes and colors. If you want to. That is one thing I noticed in most sustainable brands, the lack of prints, patterns and colors. They need to get playful for sure. It’s probably a reason why it doesn’t appeal to customers along with the price tag. It does cost to dress sustainably, but so is having a dirty closet which leaks polyester into rivers and oceans.
Are lawmakers going to wait for brands worldwide to get brave? Or are they going to take notice when plastic will be found in our drinking water? We’ve seen fashion pioneers like People Tree making way for other companies to create sustainable companies, with ethical processes and offering fair wages to their suppliers.
I love everything about them, even more that they use dyes which are ‘’ low impact dyes, free from harmful azo chemicals which are frequently used in clothing manufacture’’(Our Story,2020) and you can see how every order makes an immense impact on communities in Bangladesh, whom People Tree helped them increase orders, livelihood, improve communications skills and more (People Tree Makers, 2020). Their way of working should make all of us look beyond the price tag. For someone, it may seem expensive, to me a handmade piece that proves someone has a job, is paid and lives decently, somewhere in Bangladesh.
This country’s garment industry has been deeply affected by the pandemic, after retailers cancelled ‘’billion dollars’ worth of orders – including many that have already been completed’’ (Arun Devnath, Bloomberg) which ‘’affected over 4 million garment workers without a livelihood overnight in Bangladesh alone’’, retailers like Topshop, Kendall+Kylie, Primark, H&M, (full list in references).
One way to go about is boycotting them, I stopped buying my clothes from malls altogether. The quality from Bershka wouldn’t rise at the level of People Tree or Thought, or any other sustainable brand. I washed a t-shirt from Bershka by hand after buying it moons ago, (it had a giraffe illustration on it decorated with silver), and deformed completely. The brand received ‘’Not good enough’’ rating on GoodOnYou website. If you want to see how well your favorite brands do, it would be a good idea to see what rating they have by visiting their website or downloading the mobile app. Knowledge is power, after all. Ladies, let’s get information.
Daria Shevtsova, n.d., Photography of a woman holding green leaves, Viewed on [12/10/2020], Available from: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photography-of-a-woman-holding-green-leaves-1071162/
Good on You, n.d., Bershka, Viewed on [12/10/2020], Available from: https://directory.goodonyou.eco/brand/bershka
Morgan McFall-Johnsen, 2020, These facts show how unsustainable the fashion industry is, Viewed on 12/9/2020, Available from: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/fashion-industry-carbon-unsustainable-environment-pollution/#:~:text=Fashion%20production%20makes%20up%2010,of%20plastic%20into%20the%20ocean
People Tree, n.d., Kumudini, Viewed on [12/10/2020], Available from: https://www.peopletree.co.uk/about-us/who-makes-our-products/kumudini
People Tree, n.d., Our Environmental Responsibility, Viewed on [12/10/2020], Available from: https://www.peopletree.co.uk/about-us
Venetianlamanna, 2020, The billionaires refusing to #PayUp, Viewed on [12/10/2020], Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBydYspgxxw/?igshid=1naybwnzw3yi6
Well made clothes, 2019, HM’s New Conscious Collection Is Greenwashing 101, Viewed on [12/10/2020], Available from: https://wellmadeclothes.com/articles/HMConsciousCollectionIsGreenwashing101/