In an industry where appearance is everything, pull back the curtain and you'll see that the fashion world is one of the largest polluters on the planet. Much of the current practices of large fashion companies are troubling, to say the least. They are all in service of convincing the consumers that they need to buy more, more, more, more, more! If asked why fashion companies produce so much, they will likely blame it on the consumer for always wanting more. It's time for people throughout the fashion industry to take a look at themselves, and see how their drive to make more and more money has played a large part in creating the current paradigm of fast, disposable fashion that is killing the Earth.
On April 24, 2013, many members of the fashion community were shaken by the harsh consequences of fast and cheap fashion. What happened on that date? That was the day that the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1,134 people and injuring over 2,500 others. Such a disaster should be inexcusable. While some large producers scrambled to change some of the practices, the truth is, more needs to be done. That is why the non-profit organization Fashion Revolution was started in the UK; to take a deeper look at the fashion production and supply chain, and to demand better practices for all of those involved in creating and wearing fashion.
For a more in-depth look at this, watch this short video produced by Patagonia:
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When looking at all of the shiny TV ads and highly curated advertisements that frequent the pages of magazines and subway cars alike, one might marvel at the beauty of the composition and construction of garments. For many of those garments though, the beauty is only skin deep. For example, consider the classic American staple - the blue jeans. A pair of jeans can take between 7,000 to 10,000 liters of water to produce. In fact, there was even one case documented in which a pair of jeans took close to 12,000 liters to produce. A lot of the water required to create a pair of jeans stems from the growing of cotton, but a fair bit of it stems from the manufacturing process as well. That is about the same amount of water it takes, on average, to produce 1 pound of beef.
Furthermore, in researching the movie "River Blue," the conservationist Mark Angelo and producer Roger Williams discovered that many of the factories manufacturing denim dumped huge amounts of mercury, cadmium, lead, potassium and other toxins directly into rivers in countries such as Bangladesh and China. If people then extrapolate that further, they will see that a lot of those toxins then find their way into rivers, which in turn flow into oceans, and the toxins then move around the planet via ocean currents. Mark and Roger found cases of toxins from an Asian textile mill show up in the tissue of a North American polar bear. That's when they realized just how interconnected everything is, and that these are issues that all human beings should care about regardless of where they live.
To gain more insight into the fashion manufacturing process and how it's affecting the Earth's environment, check out the trailer here:
January 12, 2016