Impact of fashion

Impact of fashion

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over 2 billion pairs of jeans are purchased every year.

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on average 180 meters of stitching yarn is used in one pair of jeans.

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less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing.

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50% of fast fashion pieces are thrown away within a year.

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around 10% of CO2 emission today is caused by fashion.

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cotton accounts for 16% of the world’s insecticide and pesticide use.

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the average consumer purchases 60% more clothing than 15 years ago.

Impact of fashion

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over 1.2 billion million pairs of jeans are purchased every year.

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on average 180 meters of stitching yarn is used in one pair of jeans.

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less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing.

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50% of fast fashion pieces are disclosed within a year.

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around 10% of CO2 emission today is caused by fashion.

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cotton accounts for 16% of the world’s insecticide and pesticide use.

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the average consumer purchases 60% more clothing than 15 years ago.

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1 garbage truck full of textiles is being trashed every second.

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A polluting industry

The fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world. The production and distribution of cotton crops contributes to different forms of environmental pollution, including water, air, and soil pollution. Fashion is a huge industry; it employs 300 million people around the world. the production of cotton alone accounts for almost 7% of all employment in some low-income countries. 1

Climate change

Fashion comes fourth in terms of its impact on the environment. Only housing, transport, and food have greater impacts. All these industries have to alter in order to meet the goals set at the Paris Agreement in 2015. 175 countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to below 2C. We now have only 11 years left to reduce carbon emissions, keeping the global temperature rise below 2C, or face disaster. 2

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to eliminate extreme poverty, reduce inequality and protect the planet. The United Nationals (UN) aim to reach these goals in 2030. There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals, all of them unanimously adopted by world leaders at a historic UN summit in New York, September 2015. With the SDGs, the UN aims to mobilise governments, companies, organisations and individuals worldwide to protect the planet. 3

An expanding population

In the past 15 years, clothing production has gone wild, driven by the rise of fast fashion and a growing middle-class population across the globe. By 2050 there will be 10 billion humans on Earth that all need to be fed and dressed. If growth continues as expected total clothing sales would reach 160 million tonnes in 2050, more than three times today’s amount. That would mean that 26% of CO2 emissions are caused by fashion, up from 10% at the moment.The fashion industry will then be accountable for adding 22 million tonnes of microfibres to the oceans. 4

Fast fashion

In the last 15 years, clothing production and consumption has doubled and the average consumer purchases 60% more clothing. The average garment is only worn seven times before it gets thrown out, that means that a garbage truck full of textiles is being trashed every second (Ellen McArthur) and nearly three-fifths of all clothing ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being produced (McKinsey). Consumers buy more than they need. So what about asking ourselves the question: do we need all this? 4,6

Water pollution

Cotton is also called the thirsty crop. It needs high levels of irrigation and water-intensive processing. Cotton requires an estimated 20.000 litres per kilogram of cotton fabric. An industry standard pair of jeans uses up to 8.000 litres of water to make (that’s close to 54 full bathtubs). After agriculture, textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of fresh water globally, even though the world is simultaneously facing freshwater scarcity. Over a billion people don’t have access to safe water. 7

‘Don’t wash until absolutely necessary method’

Toxic chemicals

Cotton production uses 2.5% of the world’s arable land, but accounts for 16% of all pesticides used to prevent crop failure (EllenMacArthur). Unsafe use of agricultural chemicals have health impacts on workers in the field and on ecosystems that receive excess doses that run-off from farms. The toxic chemicals associated with cotton production also pollute rivers used for bathing and drinking water and can even lead to serious birth defects in cotton farmers’ children. 4,9

Farmer suicides

The Guardian says that more than 300,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves since 1995 due to the high price of genetically modified seeds flooding the market, which is piling pressure on poorly paid growers, forcing many into a cycle of unmanageable debt. 10

‘Don’t wash until absolutely necessary method’

Toxic for your skin

The skin is by far the body’s largest organ. So it goes without saying that protecting it and treating it well is important, which is exactly why we should be thinking about what it comes in contact with every day, such as your clothing. Of course, the best fabrics for your skin are natural ones. Most people don’t have any idea that their clothing is often coated with chemicals that may have a significant impact on human health. Chemicals from the clothes we wear enter our bodies through our skin. 11

CO2

Greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production are a total of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent,more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. 5

Factory workers

The majority of the people who makes clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many work in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay. In April 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the eight-story garment factory, Rana Plaza, collapsed killing 1,129 workers. The garment workers were paying the price for cheap clothing, and worst of all, the management was well aware of the cracks in the building. Since this accident there has been more attention to factory welfare and initiatives such as Fashion Revolution Week arose. During this week, consumers are encouraged to ask brands the question #whomademyclothes, encouraging brands to show transparency in their supply chain. 12

Recylce jeans

Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing. This includes recycling clothing after use, as well as the recycling of factory offcuts. For recycling after-use clothing only, experts and reports suggest that the figure could be below 0.1%. This represents an economic value loss of over $500 billion per year. 13

Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2018, Earth Overshoot Day came earlier than ever before, on August 1. Put simply, we are consuming more than we have, fashion being part of the cause. This is not just a threat to nature, but to human society too. To borrow a phrase: time’s up. 14

Doing things differently

This is the moment to do things differently. Moving away from the current linear and wasteful textiles system is crucial to tackle climate change and to ensure that global warming stays below 2C or even better 1.5C. We need you, consumers, to ask us and all other brands questions. Be critical, every product is a vote for a world you believe in. We try to be as sustainable and transparent as possible. Answering your questions, showing where your jeans are being made.

Sustainability MUD Jeans