Updated: Mar 2, 2019
Two things. Who made your clothing and what is it made out of.
When it comes to learning about sustainable fashion, it can be confusing to understand what is even going on. There are so many different aspects, but to keep it simple, the two most important factors to understanding sustainable fashion are knowing who made your clothes, and what are they made out of.
It is important to know who made your clothing because garment workers around the world are being treated so poorly. They are forced to work long hours, for little pay, and often times in unsafe working conditions. The consumers want their prices lower, so the retail companies get the manufacturers to lower their cost, and its the garment workers who pay that true cost. The manufacturers can not afford to update the safety of their factories because the margins on the clothing are so small.
The Rana Plaza Collapse was a deadly garment factory collapse in 2013. "The retail and apparel manufacturing complex crumbled," the death toll was over 1,100. The New York Times released a story last year on the lasting impacts of people who survived the Rana Plaza Collapse and other deadly incidents related to the garment industry. Thomas discussed how safety agreements made by brands in 2013 are set to expire soon. You can read the whole article here.
What your clothing is made out of is of equal importance. Viscose, also known as Rayon is a very common fabric used to make clothing. 150 million trees are cut down every year to make this fabric. Synthetic Polyester is made through a chemical reaction of coal, petroleum, air and water. More than 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester every year. Synthetic fabrics are also the biggest polluters of micro plastic into the oceans. While in the washing machine, "1,900 single fibers can be rinsed off a synthetic garment, ending up in the oceans."
Over 85% of textiles purchased end up in landfills. The product is hurting the environment and people, and it is just being thrown away. There are 100 billion pieces of clothing made every year, and only 7 million people on our planet.
There are new materials that can be used to make fashion products. Bionic Yarn is a company that makes materials out of recycled ocean plastic. Tencel is a commonly used fabric that is derived from sustainable wooded sources and has many natural benefits.
Our clothing at Konnexion is sustainable because we are creating products out of vintage and second hand clothing. We up-style clothing into new pieces.
As a consumer being aware of who made your clothing and what its made out of will help you shop sustainably! x