Environment,  Fashion,  Philanthropy

Environmentally Conscious Fashion: War on Waste

“Fashions come and go, but style goes on forever” – An Introduction to Sustainable and Ethical Fashion

By Christine Ha | UNSW FABSOC

Have you ever mass purchased a bunch of clothes during sales season? Who doesn’t love sales, right!? Or…have you successfully cleaned out your wardrobe and thrown away a bunch of outdated clothes? Isn’t it satisfying!? Ever thought about the impact that your purchases and old trashy clothes have on our beautiful Earth? Yeah… gotcha there.

Every 10 minutes, Australians throw 6000 kilograms of clothes into landfill (ABC, 2018). The fashion industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions (WorldBank, 2019). It is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply (McFall-Johnsen, 2020). It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one cotton T-shirt (WWF, 2013). That’s enough for one person to drink for 900 days!

A 6000kg pile of clothing in Martin Place (ABC, 2018)

We Australians spend around 5 billion dollars each year on fashion. Yet annually, ½ a million tonnes end up in landfill. That’s enough to fill 9,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools! The average consumer spends $2,000 a year on fashion. Yet 3/5 of that is trashed within a year of purchase. (ABC, 2018). Fast fashion is addictive, and it’s designed to be. It’s cheap, convenient and never quite satisfies our desire to keep up with ever-changing fashion trends. With the e-commerce business booming, shopping for fashion and beauty products has never been so easy! In fact, it’s become too easy. Shopping has become a mindless exercise, and we’ve become pawns in the fast-paced chase for the latest trends.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel… a fashion revolution is looming. A rise in awareness of these pertinent issues has also led to a rise in the Sustainable and Ethical Fashion movement!

Adidas x Parley running shoe made out of recycled ocean plastic (Howarth, 2016)

So, without further ado, FABSOC introduces to you our new Sustainable and Ethical Fashion Series! We’ll give you insights into the latest industry initiatives, movement breakthroughs and ways you, as an individual, can make your positive impact whilst still looking your best.

“Fashions come and go, but style goes on forever.”
Coco Chanel

So, before you purchase that next trendy shirt because it was on sale at a fast fashion retailer, think about the impact that ONE purchase can have on the world.

Want to learn more about the fast fashion industry in Australia? Watch ABC’s War on Waste episode here!

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