THE TOXIC SIDE OF FASHION

I am very passionate about the fashion topic, but only because we can’t go out naked(difficult in the UK weather now with Arwen and Barra swirling around, but being cold all the time), even 100,000 years ago we had furs and skins on(Peta was not around yet).

I understand how one can look down on terms like ‘’sustainable clothing, ‘’sustainably made’’ but there are multiple benefits to being more careful what and where you buy your clothing. Your clothing is how you expressing yourself to the world who you are. Because I’m organic I’d want my clothes to be organic too, but companies around the world aren’t as fast to make more changes to their supply chains, to change fabrics with more sustainable ones. It’s all about money. It’s harder and more complicated to make changes to production when you’ve been running a certain way for 10 years, and another when you are a start-up with access to information.

Researching where you buy is increasingly necessary because companies have a lot to hide behind labels. Often, seeing where it was made gives a clear insight of their wages, whether they are exploited or not as much as the selling price. The toxic side of fashion is exposed as a Canadian Marketplace investigation discovered ‘’that a jacket for toddlers, purchased from Chinese retailer Shein, contained almost 20 times the amount of lead that Health Canada says is safe for children.’’(CBC, 2021), obviously not good enough for any child to wear.

Shein messaged Marketplace that the items were removed from their app, but if two items are contaminated, that means there is a lot more, not just at Shein, but others who were tested by the Canadian scientists: Zaful, AliExpress. I wonder how this sits with the influencers who promote Shein and Zaful on Youtube and Instagram, who have children of their own because ‘’Lead can cause damaging health effects to the brain, heart, kidneys and reproductive system’’ with children’s health being at risk more than the adults. If you wonder how the lead got there, one explanation it is ‘’used in textile dye pigments, but there are safer alternatives that can achieve the same results.’’(Joel Mertens).

Cottonbro/PEXELS.com

Another potential health damaging trend among women is buying and wearing transparent handbags, but one such transparent tote from Zaful was found to contain levels of phthalates that worried experts, whilst PFAS or ‘forever chemicals’ were found in raincoats, used to make clothes waterproof and stain resistant. These chemicals are known by scientists to be endocrine disruptors and do not break down in the environment nor the body hence the name.

A new requirements for brands selling in California is Proposition 65, which is ‘’officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’’ which ‘’requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.’’(OEHHA, n.d.). UK’s PrettyLittleThing went viral in 2019 after posting a warning that some of their clothing contain chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm(Capital FM, 2019) and they assured their customers they have nothing to worry about. Yes, I’m not worried at all, because I don’t shop from you!

A solution is to wear existing clothes more as per EcoAge’s advice(#30wears), shopping less, and if you do shop, try shopping in a more eco-conscious way: platforms like Immaculate Vegan offer a variety of brands with clothes, accessories, shoes for both men and women at great prices. Would shoppers consider changing their buying habits? Looking at the success of fast fashion, not too soon.

SOURCES:

Capital FM, 2019. PrettyLittleThing Cancer Warning Explained: What Is Proposition 65 And What It Means For UK Shoppers. Viewed [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://www.capitalfm.com/news/lifestyle/prettylittlething-cancer-uk-proposition-65/

Cowley, Matteis and Agro, 2021. Experts warn of high levels of chemicals in clothes by some fast-fashion retailers. Viewed [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/marketplace-fast-fashion-chemicals-1.6193385

OEHHA, n.d. Proposition 65. Viewed [12/8/2021]. Available from: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65