The fast fashion industry has many facts that we should all know. From the environmental impact to the working conditions, and more. It’s important to notice them in order to decide what we do with that information. So in this post, we are going to talk about these fast fashion facts and what we can do to change them.
What is fast fashion?
For those who do not have a clear definition of fast fashion yet, it is the mass-production of cheap and disposable clothing. It uses trends replication and low-quality materials in order to bring affordable and trendy styles to the public. Indeed the United Nations established fashion as an environmental and social emergency.
Fast fashion facts
What is relevant here are the facts, information provided by organizations, and studies. From environmental impacts to working conditions, and massive consumption over the years. To be clear, there are even more facts than these ones, but here depends on you and how much you want to research. At the end of the post, I will give you the references where I took the data so you can check it and read much more about all of this.
So, here are some fast fashion facts you should consider:
Fashion environmental impacts facts:
- The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world after the oil industry.
- Every single second the equivalent of one garbage truck of textils is burning or throwing to a landfill.
- Most of the garments are made of synthetic fibers (like polyester) that are plastic fibers. Furthermore, they’re non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose.
- It requires 10,000 litres of water to manufacture a single pair of jeans, and 20,000 to produce 1kg of cotton.
- The apparel industry emits 10% of the global carbon emissions. That’s more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined. And this is due the energy used during its production, manufacturing and transportation of all the million pieces each year.
- 23% of all chemicals produced worldwide are used for the textile industry. It needs 1kg of chemicals to produce 1kg of textile.
- The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of the total waste of water globally. This is the equivalent of the amount of water that 5 million people need to survive.
- Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new textiles and fibres.
- It takes 170,000 litres of water to grow 1 kg of wool.
- More or less 1,900 synthetic plastic microfibers per cloth are released when washed. And because of its tiny size, aren’t caught in waste water treatment and then enter the ocean.
- The total fashion waste amount is going to be around 148 million tons by 2030. This is the equivalent to annual waste of 17.5 kg per capita in the world.
- Polyester production emitted 706 billion kg of greenhouse gases in 2015.
- Recycled and organic raw materials consume much less water and energy and emit less carbon dioxide than common fibers like cotton, polyester, and nylon.
Fashion human impacts facts:
- 20,000 people die of cancer and miserriages every years as a result of chemicals sprayed on cotton.
- Researchers found that about 30% of 2,400 substances used in clothing posed a risk to human health.
Fashion working conditions facts:
- A report from 2018 published that forced labor and child labor exist in the fashion industry in different contries like Argentina, India, Brazil, China, and more. You can see the report here.
- 80% of garment workers are women.
- About 300 million people who produce cotton still live in poverty.
Fashion consumption facts
- We are buying more clothes than ever. Now we consume about 80 billion new garments every year. In particular, this is a 400% more than the amount it was consumed 20 years ago.
- The average lifetime of a garment today is of 3 years.
How can we can make a change?
As you can see, there are a lot of facts, numbers, statistics, and percentages, about the fast fashion industry, its production, materials, working conditions, contamination, etc. I started changing my mind about my fashion consumption not long ago and after reading all of this. And the truth is that I felt lost and I didn’t know where to start.
In my opinion, is not easy to change fashion consumption habits and even more nowadays that we are surrounded by social media, trends, and that we can buy everything we want with just a click. But it’s not impossible because there are a lot of options and ways to be a more responsible fashion consumer. Here I give you some tips so you can think about it. They are very easy to adopt and it’s a great way to do small changes that are significant in the end.
- Invest in timeless clothes.
- Look for quality instead of quantity.
- Buy vintage clothes and sustainable brands. These are the ones that recycle garments, for example, or produce clothes with eco-friendly fibers like the ones made with waste material or low environmental impact, for example.
- Read the labels of the pieces you want to buy.
- Sell or donate the garments you don’t use anymore.
- Follow your personal style.
If you liked this post then I recommend you to read Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion. And if you want to know more about style, how to be a more conscious and responsible fashion consumer, sustainable fashion brands I suggest you keep reading my blog!
For any questions or comments, you can leave them here or you can contact me on my Instagram @belromano.