The focus of the global fashion industry is turning to the environment, and the industry’s impact and role. Fashion falls just behind energy production and food as the most polluting industry, with a disturbingly large ecological footprint. It is incredibly wasteful. It takes at least 10,000 liters of water to produce a kg of cotton (enough for a pair of jeans and a shirt) and more than 75 per cent of clothes go to landfill.
Worldwide consumption is increasing sharply with production doubling between 2000 and 2014. Adding to the waste problem is the pollution. The fashion industry has an immensely complex supply chain, which penetrates several other sectors (agriculture, transport, energy consumption). Twenty per cent of industrial water pollution is linked to the fashion sector and 0.5 billion tons of plastic microfibers are released from washed clothing annually.
The average use period for an item of clothing keeps shrinking. Until this changes efforts of producers will merely be offsetting our insatiable hunger to buy more. The only true fix for this, and many broader environmental problems, is for the tide of uber-consumerism to turn. However, responsible the brand, fashion by definition needs people to demand change, freshness, newness, and more. <br/