The Real Price of Your Clothes
Fashion is a means of expression and of communication for many of us. Designs, textures, colours and cuts are often at the top of our minds while on a trip to a shopping spree for the season’s trendiest outfits. Almost all of us, including myself, cannot deny the amount of money we spend on clothes. But that is just one price we pay for the consumption. Reading about what all goes into producing will leave you pondering over ‘the real price of your clothes’. Off late, with the launch of affordable brands in India, the term ‘fast fashion’ is under a lot of scrutiny. In simple terms, ‘Fast Fashion’ means a phenomenon in the fashion industry, whereby production processes are pushed through the market in order to get new trends as quickly and cheaply as possible resulting in launch of new items every single week.
Sounds great for consumers like me who can afford the trendiest clothes at an extremely affordable price and then dispose them before the new season arrives. However, the real problems that it is leaving behind for all of us is a more important subject of discussion. There are several problems associated with the fashion industry today from environmental to social issues. However, the topic for this post is the impact it has on the environment.
The Impact on Environment –
- Water Pollution – the biggest environmental impact is the pollution of fresh water. Although not just specific to Fashion Industry, at present, more than 80% of wastewater produced is pumped back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. Close to 20 percent of the water pollution is produced by the textile industry. It is estimated that unsafe water and poor sanitation kills 842,000 people every year. I have been talking about the water crisis on my Instagram handle as well on my fashion posts for a long time, especially about Jeans manufacturing.
- Waste – According to the True Cost, 50 million litres of toxic water are released from leather tanning. Landfills which is basically garbage from clothes take up millions of cubic yards of space. Fast Fashion has created a cycle of consumption and discarding and so we buy a lot of clothes and dispose of it very quickly, thus filling up landfills with our clothing. These clothes will need 200 years to degrade and until then will keep releasing toxic and green house gases into the environment.
The solutions to the problems will require a few changes to start with, as making a complete change overnight is not possible. Small changes over a period of time can help us bring manage the catastrophe.
- We need to think before we buy clothes, if it can last us for a long time and in fact help us save the amount of money we are spending on clothes.
- Opt for natural fibers such as organic cotton, wool, silk, and linen.
- Recycle old clothes as much as possible. We often think that donating is the only solution but we must also remember that the clothes will finally end up at landfills.
In the era of Fashion Bloggers and getting a following, overconsumption has become a big negative trait resulting from fast fashion. Be it bloggers or celebrities, everyone seem to be wary of being criticised for flaunting the same clothes more than once. The problem of validation and overspending habits of our generation is a whole different problem. However, the power of social media can also be used to cause the awareness of the problems. For this reason, I strongly believe that we have the responsibility of leading by a good example, by consciously trying to incorporate a more cleaner lifestyle.