As the world begins to wake up to the sheer magnitude of human destruction of the planet, the fashion industry has finally been called to the carpet to answer for its role in damaging the environment. From sourcing and manufacturing to shipping and overconsumption, every stage of the industry produces a huge carbon footprint, and urgent action is needed to make sure fashion does not become a major contributor to climate change. In this article, we explore what needs to be done to tackle fashion’s climate impact and create a more sustainable industry in the future.
1. Fashion’s Impact on the Climate
Fashion has become increasingly popular in recent years with fast fashion taking the industry by storm. Fast fashion allows for consumers to purchase mass produced garments at a fraction of the cost of traditional fashion. While fast fashion may open the door to more affordable garments, it has taken a hefty toll on the environment.
- The production of fast fashion materials such as polyester and acrylic requires immense amounts of energy, water, and oil which contribute to emissions.
- The demand for short-lived items leads to a huge waste of resources and material, which adds to landfills and ultimately to global warming.
- Biological materials used in garments (like cotton) greatly affect the environment through deforestation, soil depletion, water toxicity, and air pollution.
Time and time again, research has proven that fashion is one of the leading causes of global warming. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the environmental cost of fashion. Consumers must recognize their role in this climate change crisis and shift towards more sustainable consumption habits. They must understand that the way they shop can have a major impact on the environment and their choice to support sustainable fashion can drastically reduce emissions.
2. What Needs to Be Done
Tips for Preparation
Before mapping out , it’s essential to take some time to get properly prepared. Here are a few tips that’ll help:
- Schedule time to focus solely on the task at hand – without distractions.
- Take a focused, systematic approach to evaluation.
- Collect the necessary information and resources together in one place.
Creating the ‘To-Do’ List
Once you’re properly prepped, the next step is to get clear on . This means creating a logical to-do list that includes all the necessary items, with an overview of the timeframe and priority for each task. By breaking a project into smaller pieces, you’ll be able to more easily focus on tackling each component one-by-one. Working in manageable pieces can also help to make a task more manageable and enjoyable. A well-structured to-do list also helps to keep you on track and prevent distractions, ensuring the project is finished on time.
3. Can We Make Fashions Sustainable?
It’s no secret that the fashion industry has a negative environmental impact. The production of clothes uses a lot of water consumption and energy resources, and this often leads to air and water pollution. But there are several ways in which we can try to make fashion sustainable.
1. Upcycling Old Clothes
- Revamp old clothes with embroidery, dye, and/or patches to create brand new looks
- Bring clothes to tailors to restyle, refit, and reconfigure older pieces.
- Purchase vintage clothing and clothes from secondhand/thrift stores.
2. Sustainable Materials
- Recycle and reuse materials and fabrics in creating new clothes.
- Support sustainable fashion brands like Reformation, Kowtow, and People Tree who produce their collections with sustainable practices.
- Focus on investing in classic, timeless pieces which you can wear all throughout the seasons.
Making fashion sustainable is something we can all contribute towards. Even small changes can go a long way in making sure that fashion doesn’t have undue negative effects to the environment.
4. Reforming the Current System: Our Responsibility
In the pursuit of reforming the current system, the citizens of the nation stand on the edge of a new era of social and political transformation. We have a responsibility, as citizens, to be active participants in this national overhaul. Without our commitment and dedication, the potential of meaningful change may remain a distant dream.
Every citizen can do something to help propel the nation forward. We can use our voice to individually and collectively call for reforms. We can also ensure our votes are heard and make sure those official in office are held accountable. Here are some direct ways citizens can help the current system:
- Speak out when injustices take place. Raise concern when a policy is pushed that negatively affects a certain group or minority.
- Become politically active. Participate in grassroots organizations, attend rallies, and register to vote. Make sure your voice is heard on Election Day.
- Hold elected officials accountable. Push your representatives and senators to make decisions that will benefit all the nation’s citizens. Their job is to represent the people. Make them do it.
We can and must be part of this social change. We are the ones who will make it happen. The responsibility is ours – responsibility to carry on and reform the system.
To echo the words of former US Vice President Al Gore, “we have everything we need to get started, except perhaps the will”. To bring down fashion’s climate impact, from conception to disposal, we must take action. Let’s be the agents of change and give future generations a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable future.