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  • Ryoma Deiss

Is Your Instagram Flex Worth Buying a New Outfit For?

© Photography by INJECTION, PFW FW19

Let’s not pretend we don’t know. Our clothes kill our future.

Humanity is in a race against time to prevent the irreversible destruction of the earth, and the global environmental crisis has reached a point where we can no longer ignore it. The fashion industry has contributed to this by failing to act responsibly for the environment.

So, let’s start with "the birth". Life cycles of any garment start with the choice of fibre, followed by textile production. While the demand for natural fibres is growing in the more developed countries, the use of synthetic fibres is increasing in the underdeveloped countries. Dyeing and treatment of textiles are responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution, with 90% of wastewater in developing countries being discharged directly into rivers. Furthermore, each time a synthetic garment is washed, it also contaminates the water. Approximately 1900 microfibres are released into the water at each wash, often ending up in the sea. The industry is not only a significant consumer of water but pollutes it as well. Annually, 1.5 trillion litres of water are consumed by industry, whilst 750 million people worldwide are still without access to drinking water. It is estimated that the annual global water consumption for production and use at 79 billion cubic metres of freshwater, the adverse effects of which are hugely felt in countries with leading cotton production, such as China or India, whose economies are already suffering from water stress in certain areas.

Deforestation and loss of biodiversity is, unfortunately, another consequence of the fashion industry. 70% of the topsoil, which is the layer for plants to grow, is gone due to human-caused soil degradation. This is caused, among other things, by soil degradation due to the massive use of chemicals for cotton production, overgrazing of pastures by animals bred for their wool, and deforestation and is estimated to lead to a 30% drop in food production over the next twenty to fifty years, resulting in further famine.

Moreover, because of its energy-intensive production and extended supply chain, the fashion industry is responsible for about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which would correspond to an annual average CO2 equivalent of 1.2 billion tons. The 10% of the global greenhouse gas emission of the fashion industry is a figure that exceeds the CO2 emissions of international aviation and shipping.

Well, it doesn’t stop here. There is also the problem of waste, where the majority of the fashion industry once again fails to come up with responsible solutions. Alone in the UK, yearly over 30 kg of textile products per person end in landfill, even though many of the garments could have been recycled or reused. Waste is a problem occurring before a garment is produced as well as afterwards. On average, 35% of all materials in the supply chain end up as waste before a garment, or a product reaches the consumer.

Just to sum it up - the fashion industry has played a significant role in the destruction of our planet. We must face the truth; as long as the values of society remain unchanged, there seems to be little hope that the fashion industry as a whole will become more environmentally responsible in the near future.

Maybe just think about it next time before buying cheap "trash" clothes to impress.

Nicole Untersander Ryoma Deiss INJECTION Magazine


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