In the last few years there has been a huge surge in considered action in relation to wellbeing and how we treat our minds and bodies. This has included some much-needed attention being paid to our diets and what impact our relationship with food has on the planet and its communities. Extending that, we’ve begun to value products for the body and home which come from natural sources – lowering our exposure to toxicity and unknowable long-term health impacts.
But despite all this focus on the body, for many years we’ve ignored what we are wearing on our backs.
What impact does this have on the health of the planet?
What relationship is there between fabrics, fashion and devastating toxicity?
How do we measure the wellbeing of the workers integral in the production story of a piece of fast fashion?
The fashion industry has finally begun to wake up
The call to action for change in the industry is no longer possible to ignore. Consumers need to lead the charge and turn their backs on fast fashion – increasing the demand for textiles that are clean, green and fairly made.
The fashion and textiles industry is the second largest global polluter after oil
The negative impact of fashion is set to be at catastrophic levels by 2050 – we’ve already seen clothing production double in the last 15 years. Fashion is responsible for 20% of freshwater pollution and uses 28 million tonnes of non-renewable resources per year – including oil, fertilisers and chemicals to dye and fix fibres.
Every year half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres are released into our oceans from our clothing. Approximately 75m workers across the world are involved in making our clothes, most of them women and large numbers of them living in poverty, often the victims of exploitation and abuse.
These are just some broad stats and facts on the impact our high street clothing is having on the global community. For too long we’ve enjoyed the convenience of easy access, low prices and the ability to re-buy when something falls apart.
Changing consumption habits and buying sustainably is a move away from convenience, and for the average busy person this is a big commitment. But it’s worth it.
What can we do?
Shun fast fashion. Vote for the kind of world you want to live in with your wallet. Instead of buying five things from a high street fast fashion chain, buy one thing that is made to last and made consciously. Buy clothing from brands that promote traceability, who are accountable at every stage in their supply chains.
Buy organic. Organic cottons and linens are some of the best fabrics available. Organic cotton, versus conventional cotton, not only avoids toxic pesticides but also uses 62% less energy, has 91% reduced water consumption and emits 46% less greenhouse gas emissions.
Shop innovatively. TENCEL fabric is one new innovation in fashion that operates on a completely closed loop system, capturing and re-using the inputs used to create the fabrics.
Avoid synthetic fibres – go for those that will degrade in time. Ask the brand you’re buying from what their policy on modern slavery is.
And if ever in doubt – buy vintage. Keep it out of landfill.
20% off the summer edit at Give Wear Love, exclusively for Balance Garden readers (use the code J-A-BG20 at checkout)
GIVE WEAR LOVE launched in the midst of winter in 2018. We are here for those of you who love style, who want to express their individuality through their choice of clothing AND who want to display a solid commitment to the health and wellbeing of people and planet. We offer both new and vintage clothing, whilst simultaneously fundraising for charities and grassroots organisations that work for a greener, cleaner and fairer fashion industry.
We work with established and emerging brands, hand-selecting basics and statement pieces to style together into our seasonal Edits.
We ask questions of the brands we work with – how, where, who and why. Check out our recently released SUMMER Edit and our vintage collaboration... and wear the change you want to see in the world.
Balance Garden are really happy to be supporting this conscious startup. Wellbeing is about more than our individual selves and we have to support organisations like this who are really trying to make a difference in our world.
Check out their SUMMER Edit including basic layers for the changeable British weather and beautiful statement pieces for sunnier summer days.
Balance Garden readers can claim an exclusive 20% discount off the SUMMER Edit and more. Enter code: J-A-BG20 at checkout. The first 5 customers to use this code will also receive a free GWL tote!
Discount is valid until 31 August on all edits bar the RE-WEAR collection and can be used multiple times.
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