The increase in unethical practices in the fashion industry is alarming. The fashion industry is one of the largest production scale lines that continuously harm the environment in versatile ways. As per Forbes, it is the second largest industry that produces toxic waste and covers most landfills.
Not only do the after-products of fast fashion pollute the environment, but the production process also demises the quality of the ecosystem and the lives of living organisms. The high water consumption, resource exploitation, and toxic chemical use all add to the destruction and devastation of society and biodiversity.
Most producers believe in making money and profit for themselves at the expense of natural resources and materials. They only worry about their needs and neglect the return service to the environment. They practice unethical methods to produce goods that pose serious threats to the planet earth.
High-water consumption and water pollution:
During production work, the textile companies consume a high amount of water. After their requirements are fulfilled, they discharge the wastewater (without proper treatment) into the nearby water sources.
The hazardous substances, like artificial (toxic) dyes, heavy metals, acids, soda, hydrocarbons, etc., present in the untreated wastewater pollute the precious clean water bodies in which they are discharged.
Textile industries use various chemicals and other toxic materials to make their products more reliable and compatible with the latest trends. This methodology of production also leads to various harmful toxic emissions.
These emissions blend in the atmosphere and pollute the air that we breathe in. These are also responsible for global warming and unwanted climate change.
As fast fashion trends change frequently, consumer demand for every new relevant product also grows rapidly. To fulfill this increased pace, fashion brands produce millions of products. But as the trend goes down, most of the products become irrelevant, thereby, end up as waste in landfills.
Textile workers are exposed to various inhumane treatments. They are compelled to do hard labor. The companies make the overseas workers work extra limits at inadequate hours. The fashion brands who hire them don’t commit to paying fair local living wages.
The fashion industries also induce child labor for their own profit. Further, the working conditions are deplorable and harmful.
Besides environmental pollution, global health hazards are another threat to the fast fashion industry. The discharge of untreated effluents into clean water sources severely affects the aquatic ecosystem and the nearby human population.
The harmful chemical emissions pose respiratory health issues for people living in the vicinity and working in the industry. Continuous exposure to toxic materials also harms their health and immune system.
The technical complexity and the hazardous production process of the textile industries need sustainable optimization. If their exploiting technologies are not optimized in time, we will face more severe threats to sustenance our community and the environment.
Hence, in order to sustain long, fashion industries need to approach sustainable production. Also, the consumers need to ditch following the fast fashion trends and accustom their usage to sustainable fashion.
What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainability in fashion refers to clothing that is ethically right and acceptable. It is an approach towards the processes of sourcing, preparing, designing, and distributing garments and housewares that are transparent and reliable.
On a more granular stage, sustainable fashion is a revolutionary process that is socially good, environment-friendly, and has no adverse or toxic impacts on the planet. It maximizes the benefits to the industry and the society at large and also gives them green value credentials.
Further, it minimizes the adverse impacts of the fast fashion industry on the environment, people, and animals. Sustainable fashion has a great potential of protecting the earth from destruction.
Why is sustainability in fashion so important?
When talking about fashion, things like glamour, trendy, stylish, attractive, etc., strike the mind immediately. But no one thinks about sustainability, ethics, or eco-friendly. Well, sustainable fashion, slow fashion, and ethical fashion are a few terms that most eco-conscious producers and consumers talk about.
Different people can have different perceptions of them. But as a matter of fact, all these terms are just ways to describe a new conception of our fashionable clothes and the way they impact people and the planet.
As fast fashion is one of the biggest polluters on earth, sustainable fashion appears as a savior. It is important in reducing water consumption, chemical usage, energy consumption, resource exploitation, and the excessive overflowing of landfills.
The unethical fast fashion even exploits its workers. Also, it is a cause of global health issues and social and environmental injustice. Hence, by incorporating sustainable fashion, it is possible to take a step towards conscious protection of our planet, making our choices worthwhile and yielding long-term benefits.
How fashion industry can work on a sustainable approach?
The fashion industry can become more sustainable by performing more ethical practices in production and supply work. Not only producers but consumers also play a great role in fashion production. Hence, to make the fashion industry more sustainable, consumers also need to foster change in their shopping habits.
Few fantastic ways to change the unethical practices in the fashion industry and make them more sustainable:
Ethically fair fashion:
To become ethically sustainable, fashion producers need to innovate new ways to manufacture eco-friendly, durable, and socially fair clothing. Brands should choose vegan and organic ways. They can use sustainable plants to produce an organic fabric that is plastic and toxic-free. One can read about the unethical practices of the fashion industry, here.
Vintage and second-hand clothing:
The best way to reduce the overflowing landfills is to use vintage fashion or go for second-hand clothing. Producers can redeem vintage with little effort and make it fashionable. Also, they can use recycled products to make second-hand clothing. Consumers can also buy this clothing and contribute to sustainable fashion.
Redesign and recycle fashion:
The increase in the demands has given a boost to these unethical practices in the fashion industry. Sustainability in fashion is all about repair, redesign, and reinvent. Brands can manufacture recyclable clothes. These are redesigned and are again up for trade. By giving old ones a new look, the fashion industry can save loads of raw materials and natural resources.
Clean and green fashion:
Clean and green fashion means the fashion that is clear from toxic leads and is eco-friendly. The fashion industry can be much more sustainable with this tactic.
These small practices and simple efforts can use the fashion industry sustainable and ethical.