The fashion industry is one of the foremost polluting industries in the world, significantly contributing to land degradation, as well as threatening air quality and water supplies. Scientifically proven studies have suggested that the industry itself is responsible for 10 per cent of the world’s carbon footprint, largely the result of mass manufacturing of fashion items in the contemporary world.
Today, items cost next-to-nothing, so much so, that it has promoted garments as single-use, while fostering an unsustainable ‘throwaway culture’. Undoubtedly, consumer demands for cheap clothes and current fashion trends are sparking the development of this culture, leading to detrimental effects across all spheres of the earth.
Constant consumer demands for particular fashion items places stress on retailers, forcing them to use unsustainable manufacturing practices. Historically clothing was made from ‘natural fibres’ such as cotton, wool and silk, which although are heavily water intensive, are more environmentally friendly due to their biodegradable nature. The recent adjustment to synthetic textile fibres such as polyester is widely used in production today. The fibre itself is made out of a combination of water, air, coal and petroleum, subsequently emitting carbon dioxide and other numerous impurities into the atmosphere. Pollution to the environment doesn’t stop there, as the fabric is non-biodegradable, meaning it can never decompose to its original state and instead leeches micro plastics into the ground, waterways and even oceans.
In light of rising demands for new collections and the intertwined nature of this fast fashion period, it is without doubt that environmental damage is magnifying as the industry grows.
However, there are solutions and alternative methods available to help mitigate these issues. The conscious fashion movement is slowly emerging, bringing to light the atrocities that are occurring as a result of over production. Largely this is due to the poor working conditions in developing countries such as Bangladesh, where environmental corners are being cut to keep up with production. One such company who is contributing significantly to combat this fast fashion trend is Mother Of Pearl, who is interested in revolutionising the way one shops, focusing on the story of a products creation rather than the type of garment itself.
Mother Of Pearl’s sustainability strategy is something that more companies should strive to achieve, ensuring that their fibre is organically grown and sourced, whilst giving consumers a more transparent insight into their current supply chain. One of their key attributes is that they trace their products from ‘Fabric to Final’, highlighting the great relationships that they have with everyone involved in the production process. As a company, they highlight how sustainable fashion choices are, and can be fashionable, all the while helping to reduce one’s individual carbon footprint. Their work is a perfect example of the ways through which companies can actively take corporate responsibility for their actions and engage with safer product manufacturing.
What can you do? You can take an active stance against mass production by limiting your personal consumption, easily done by thinking in terms of quality rather than quantity. In many instances, buying higher quality and relatively more expensive items of clothing encourages the ways through which more socially responsible actions are being met, something that is of considerable importance today. If your interested in learning more about sustainable production then head to London Fashion Week on 16-17th February where an insightful discussion with BBC Earth, The British Fashion Council (BFC) and Mother Of Pearl present positive attitudes towards the production of sustainable clothing. Collectively, the speakers aim to share their knowledge about how unsustainable the industry is, highlighting how mindful consumer behaviour can make a difference and a noteworthy impact on combatting climate change.