Impact of Fashion
Impact of Fashion:
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world after the oil industry. Yup, you read that right. From growing the raw materials to the manufacturing and transportation, the process of manufacturing clothes affects our beloved planet in a variety of ways. Not cute, huh?
We don’t think so either, and so at Timeless, we believe the first step to changing this for the better is to raise awareness of the fashion industry’s impact on the environment and in turn enable our customers to make more ethical and conscious choices. So, let’s dig into this topic a little deeper...
Water (this is a biggie)
The fashion industry is a MAJOR consumer of water. This is because it requires several billion cubic metres of water per year for cotton growing, fabric dyeing and laundry.
Cotton plants require a huge amount of water to grow, and they’re often grown in hot, dry regions. To give you an idea, 20,000 litres of water are needed to produce just 1kg of cotton ( On average 1 dress usually weighs 1kg)
We all know how important water is for the planet and just how scarce it is for many people in the world and the sheer volume of water needed for cotton is causing huge land masses to dry up.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the untreated toxic water from processing fabrics and the pesticides used in growing cotton often makes its way back into our rivers and oceans. This can be super harmful to marine life as well as for people who live nearby the polluted river banks.
At Timeless, we understand the issues and hurdles around using cotton however we aren’t at the stage of being able to completely cut out the use of cotton just yet. However, what we are doing is using Better Cotton Initiative (BCI Cotton).
The “Better Cotton Initiative” enables farmers to grow cotton with reduced water capacity by optimising water use and without using the harmful pesticides and fertilizers. We recognise that cotton isn’t the best fabric to use in our garments, but we feel this is the first step towards a more sustainable future and we will continue to explore ways in which we can reduce our reliance on cotton in the future.
Every time a synthetic garment is washed, thousands of tiny plastic particles called microfibres are released into the water, eventually making their way into our oceans. (You can probably see a theme emerging here - the ocean gets a pretty rough deal.) Aquatic life can mistake these fibres for food and ingest them. Then, when a bigger fish eats the first fish and an even bigger fish eats that fish and so on, this can eventually end up on our own plates. Yum.
The fashion industry accounts for a whopping 10% of global carbon emissions. This is because the production of garments releases a load of CO2 along with other greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change - and yes, it’s a real thing.
Nylon, polyester and acrylic are commonly found in a lot of our clothes, and these synthetic materials are actually made from fossil fuels, again involving production that releases harmful gases compared to using natural fibres.
Most of the clothes we buy come from countries such as India and China which are predominantly powered by coal which is the worst type of energy source when it comes to carbon emissions. And then of course, those clothes need to make their way back over to the UK, which clocks up a hell of a lot of air miles, and - yep, you guessed it - carbon emissions.
We’re generating more textile waste than ever before and even though our pre-loved garments can be sold on, donated or recycled, sadly a lot of it still ends up in landfill and releases methane into the atmosphere over the span of several years, or is incinerated, again, releasing harmful gases into the air. Oh, also, remember those synthetic fibres we mentioned earlier like polyester and nylon? They can take up to 200 years to decompose. Not quite so ‘fast’ fashion after all.
At Timeless, we’re doing our part to reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill by turning to the use of recycled fabrics like recycled denim and recycled polyester in our clothes.
Sustainability is a journey for all of us, and while we don’t claim to have all of the solutions just yet, we feel it’s important to be transparent with where we are with our journey towards being a sustainable clothing provider. Moving away from conventional cotton, polyester and nylon and sourcing Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton, natural fibres and recycled fabrics is just the beginning and we look forward to sharing with you the ways in which we can continue to innovate and improve over the coming years.