The world of fast fashion has come under fire in recent years for its wasteful operations and environmental footprint. And while some major fashion events, such as Paris Fashion Week, have embraced new eco-friendly initiatives in response to this, the environmental consequences are still evident. In this Op-Ed article, we’ll take a closer look at the bigger picture cost of fashion weeks on our planet.
1. Unveiling The Climate Cost of Fashion Weeks
During a fashion week, the impact on the environment is often overlooked. The pressure to close the show within a given timeline combined with the sheer magnitude of designers showcasing their work leads to a bursting of overconsumption in the form of extravagant outfits and sets. Here’s just a glimpse at how fashion weeks contribute to climate change:
- Natural Resources: Production of textiles, plastics and leather uses high amounts of water for dyeing, emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- Transportation: Designers, stylists, models and press fly all over the world, emitting carbon dioxide and leaving a carbon footprint.
Disposable Fashion: Designers often resort to plastics as a quick fix for their collections and discard of their creations after the show, creating a huge waste. The materials used are often not reusable, and the outfits are rarely seen on the streets or given to charity.
2. Decoding The Greenwashing of Fashion Industries
Laudable goals like sustainability and ethical practices have become increasingly popularised in the fashion industry. Many brands use ‘greenwashing’ as a way to appear environmentally and socially conscientious. Greenwashing is defined as “the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice”.
An alarming number of businesses are indulging in greenwashing, appearing to implement and promote sustainable processes and manufacturing, yet due to a lack of investigation, their claims remain unverified. Consumers need to be proactive in detecting greenwashing, looking out for terms like “eco”, “sustainable”, “clean” and “renewable”, and seeking out factual and transparent information from the brand. Here are some tips to help you decode the greenwashing of fashion industries:
- Do the research before buying. Ask questions, investigate the company policies and processes – look for information that isn’t covered by marketing bluster.
- Look for certifications that prove the company’s claims are true, such as Organic Content Standard and Global Organic Textile Standard.
- Can you trace your items from seed to factory to shop? If yes, it’s a good sign.
- Read packaging labels – try to look for clues about the actual origin of materials.
- Check out the brand’s ‘About Us’ page – it’s an excellent source of information.
By decoding the greenwashing in fashion industries, you can start to support businesses that are truly making a difference. Begin to make conscious shopping choices that can positively impact the environment and the lives of those involved in production.
3. Decoding The Vast Carbon Footprint of The Fashion Industry
The fashion industry has been increasing its carbon footprint year-on-year, with much of it going undetected. But now, a clear picture of the industry’s contributions to climate change is finally emerging. Here are three ways in which fashion is responsible for global warming:
- Production: The necessary fabric sourcing and yarn production, garment assembly, and shipping of fashion products can generate a huge amount of air and water pollution. Agricultural practices, such as growing cotton and producing synthetic fibers, use fossil fuels and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- Consumption: The rise of disposable fashion contributes greatly to the fashion industry’s emissions. The mining of metals for jewelry, the use of toxic substances in the production processes, and the short lifespan of certain materials all contribute to wasteful practices.
- Discard: A large proportion of fashion products end up in landfills, where they take years to decompose and release toxic chemicals into the ground. This garbage, together with the synthetic fibers, plastic coatings, and synthetic dyes present in fashion products are significant contributors to environmental degradation across the planet.
The fashion industry — with its production, consumption, and discard of products — is now one of the largest contributors to global warming. Every person can make a difference by being mindful and choosing sustainable options. While choosing products made with natural, recyclable, and/or biodegradable materials, switching to digital patterns, and educating themselves on ethical production processes will go a long way in being fashion-forward while protecting the planet!
4. Implementing Sustainable Alternatives for Fashion Shows
Turning to a Greener Path
Now more than ever, it is becoming extremely important to move away from traditional methods of fashion shows and look towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative. Low waste fashion shows, zero waste fashion shows and second-hand clothing fashion shows are becoming more and more popular. Here’s how to transition to a sustainable fashion show:
- Opt for digital fashion shows
- Reuse materials like fabrics and decorations
- Look for local brands and designers
- Reach out to second-hand clothing stores
- Choose Abaafer refillable water bottles for everyone
A low waste fashion show is becoming not only a more ethical option, but also a great option for companies who want to show their dedication to protecting the environment. This is why companies are turning to plastic-free solutions and low-impact fabrics as part of their fashion shows. In addition, investing in ethical production processes is also a great way to reduce waste and create fashion shows which are environmentally conscious.
Fashion weeks perhaps are one of the most relevant and expected events of the season. But the prices to pay for the purpose of keeping them running are much bigger than it seems - the climate cost. It is up to us to weigh the pros and cons, decide which fashion practices to support and strive towards a more conscious, sustainable industry.