What does fast fashion really do to the planet?

12 Jul 2021


What does fast fashion really do to the planet?

What Does Fast Fashion Really Do to The Planet?

Fast fashion may seem like the answer in a world where trends are praised and being fashionable is given more weight than being a conscious consumer… but our beloved climate is suffering at our hands. Fast fashion produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions (more than international flights and maritime shipping combined), is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply and is a main player in the pollution of the ocean.

We’re at a stage in our world’s history where every move humanity makes is impacting our precious earth – yet some are less visible than others. For example, something as simple as washing our clothes hurts our environment. Washing clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year – the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. Many of those fibers aren’t ethically sourced and are greatly problematic. One of main perpetrators? Polyester. Polyester is a fabric found in an estimated 60% of readily available garments and requires two to three times more carbon emissions than cotton to produce. Sure, our affordable and mass-produced items of choice is the easiest option to spruce up our wardrobe to be ‘on trend’, but that need to be ‘fashionable’ is coming at a detrimental environmental cost. 

Polyester does not break down into the ocean. Our oceans are the core of humanity’s existence and yet the way we are treating them, even inadvertently, is a problem. In 2017, the International Union for Conservation of Nature reported an estimated 35% of all microplastics – small pieces of plastic that never biodegrade – in the ocean came from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester. Furthermore, microplastics are estimated to compose up to 31% of plastic pollution in the ocean. These microplastics are then ingested by aquatic life and go on to destroy habitats, thus producing a new type of environmental and health threat.  

So, think twice before you buy the next ‘on trend item’. Our oceans are imperative for humanity to survive. If we don’t transform our relationship with our planet, protect it and fight for its survival as well as change our consumerist behavior… there won’t be anything left to protect.