Can fashion ever be sustainable?
BBC Smart Guide to Climate Change.
Fashion accounts for around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, but there are ways to reduce the impact your wardrobe has on the climate.
“For years I was obsessed with buying clothes,” says Snezhina Piskova. “I would buy 10 pairs of very cheap jeans just for the sake of having more diversity in my wardrobe for a low price, even though I ended up wearing only two or three of them.”
When it comes to resisting the lure of fashion, Piskova faces a tougher challenge than most. As a copywriter for a company in the fashion industry she’s surrounded by fashionistas. And it’s been easy to go along with the tide.
But conversations about the climate crisis made Piskova, who lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, consider the impact that the industry and her own shopping habits were having.
The fashion industry accounts for about 10% of global carbon emissions, and nearly 20% of wastewater. And while the environmental impact of flying is now well known, fashion sucks up more energy than both aviation and shipping combined.
Clothing in general has complex supply chains that makes it difficult to account for all of the emissions that come from producing a pair of trousers or new coat. Then there is how the clothing is transported and disposed of when the consumer no longer wants it anymore.
While most consumer goods suffer from similar issues, what makes the fashion industry particularly problematic is the frenetic pace of change it not only undergoes, but encourages. With each passing season (or microseason), consumers are pushed into buying the latest items to stay on trend.
It’s hard to visualise all of the inputs that go into producing garments, but let’s take denim as an example. The UN estimates that a single pair of jeans requires a kilogram of cotton. And because cotton tends to be grown in dry environments, producing this kilo requires about 7,500–10,000 litres of water. That’s about 10 years’ worth of drinking water for one person.
There are ways to make denim less resource-intensive, but in general, jeans composed of material that is as close to the natural state of cotton as possible use less water and hazardous treatments to produce. This means less bleaching, less sandblasting, and less pre-washing.
Read the entire BBC Article:” Can fashion ever be sustainable?