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  • Writer's pictureNandita Banerjee

Why I care about Sustainability in Fashion (And You Should Too)

Updated: May 28, 2023

Picture this: You're standing in front of your bursting wardrobe, but you have nothing to wear.

Illustrated sketch of a closet overflowing with clothes
An overflowing closet, illustration created using DALL-E

Sound familiar? That's the result of aggressive marketing and intentional deterioration of product quality, which has created an unquenchable consumer thirst, leading to terrifying amounts of waste and exploitation of resources.

If you've ever had a conversation with me, you know I talk about Sustainability in Fashion a LOT. If you haven't had the pleasure yet, reach out—I can talk your ear off about it. Why? Because it's not just important; it's becoming increasingly dire with each passing day. Whether you're a conscious consumer, fashion enthusiast, or industry professional, this blog is tailored to you. I'm deeply committed to expanding my knowledge and sharing my research and opinions through this platform. So, let's kick off by delving into why urgent and decisive action is imperative for a more sustainable fashion industry, and what that means for our environment and society.

The fashion industry, despite its allure, leaves behind a staggering environmental footprint. Mass production, excessive consumption, and the pervasive culture of fast fashion contribute to an enormous amount of wastage. Did you know that the global fashion industry generates around 92 million tons of waste annually, encompassing textile waste, offcuts, and discarded clothing? Moreover, it's estimated to be responsible for approximately 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions. These figures are merely scratching the surface.

However, it's not just the environment that suffers. Behind the glamour, the fashion industry harbours a dark underbelly of exploited human resources. Countries like China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India dominate apparel manufacturing and exports, yet their labour protection laws often fall woefully short, allowing for the gross exploitation of workers. Having seen and worked in some of these factories first hand, I've witnessed the unimaginable conditions faced by garment workers. They endure long hours, low wages, and lack basic benefits like comfortable working environments and access to health care.

Fashion is a powerful form of self-expression, and there's no need to sacrifice style for sustainability. However, I believe the notion that radical change solely rests on the consumer is fundamentally flawed. While individual choices are undoubtedly crucial, we must also drive systemic change at a policy level. As we explore topics such as corporate propaganda, historical context, and alternative materials and methods of enterprise, I hope you to join me in collectively advocating for stronger regulations that prioritize sustainability and workers' rights throughout the fashion industry's supply chains. The goal? To drive governments and organizations to enforce stricter standards and hold brands accountable for their environmental and social impact.

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