So, get this, the fashion industry is the second-largest source of pollution in the world. The WORLD! Apparently, it produces more carbon than international flights and shipping combined! And that’s all because of the way we see fashion and produce clothes.
No one wants to pay lots of money for higher quality clothes when they could buy something that looks similar and costs less and then replace it later on! No one stitches up a hole in their tee, they throw it out and buy another. You would never be caught wearing an item from last year’s trend either! Everyone wants to keep up with the trend.
This is called “Fast Fashion”. And that’s fine. But think of everything that goes into the production of clothing! All the chemicals and synthetics. Sustainable fashion is the key to a better future.
It’s time to set a fashion statement, a different way.
Toxic Fashion: What Goes into Our Clothes?
Let’s take a moment to think of the process that our clothes go through before reaching shops! They make the fibers, bleach them, dye them, cut them up and stitch them back together. Lots of chemicals are put into the making of our clothes. But we don’t think much of that, do we? You’re probably thinking, does it matter?
Well, if you didn’t know, your skin is the largest organ and it absorbs anything we put on it. So, everything you wear puts you in danger And, ironically, most of these chemicals are found in top major clothing brands.
Wash them Maybe?
We know what you’re thinking now, don’t people wash their clothes before wearing them? Well, most chemicals never go away with washing!
You know your favorite tanned leather jacket? Toxic. Leather jackets have chemicals for tanning leather which could potentially damage your kidneys!
What about that tee with the quirky joke on it? It’s okay, right? No. Most finished clothing contains PFCs which make a home and build up in your bloodstream.
A study done on chemicals in textiles showed that some chemicals that were found in a child’s PJ can be found FIVE days later in his urine! Very wrong!
Toxic Sneakers: What Goes into Our Shoes?
When it comes to production, the environment is the biggest victim. Whether it’s the clothing industry or the sneaker industry, there’s always a huge impact on the environment, which directly impacts us as well. The shoes we wear every day go through a large manufacturing process that also requires the usage of a lot of chemicals, just like clothes! They even use common textiles. And probably even more, since shoes require rubber and foam for the soles. Also, a lot of plastic.
Sneaker designer D’Wayne Edwards said that the sneaker that changed the sneaker production game was the Nike Air Max 1 with the Air Technology. In essence, this meant more plastic used in the production of these sneakers. With over 20 billion pairs produced annually, the amount of plastic is overwhelming. Our shoes are made of plastic!
Where do they go?
And eventually, people dump their sneakers in landfills where they just sit for years! Shoes take up to 30 to 40 years to decompose! And the soles take even longer! Did you know that apparently, Americans throw away about 300 MILLION sneakers every year? Nike even got a lot of heat for using plastic microbeads in their new Joyride sneaker silhouette.
So, with all the lengths that sneaker brands are going through to upgrade sneaker technology, you’d think they’d find more ways to make sustainable sneakers. If Adidas can make a gravity-defying Ultra Boost, then they can make a sustainable eco-friendly sneaker too!
The Call for Help! The Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion
Fashion and Carbon Dioxide Emissions
More than 50% of Carbon Dioxide emissions from apparel production comes from dyeing & finishing, yarn prep, and fiber production. Same thing for the sneaker industry. More than 60% of the emissions came from manufacturing and raw material extraction. And that’s without considering disposal later on.
So, why does this matter? If you remember those school days in science class when we took the chapter on pollution? Well, Carbon Dioxide is harmful when it goes overboard. It causes climate change, acid rain, and health issues! Great. Just what we needed.
Fashion and Water Pollution
Listen to this, in China and India, farmers are guessing the color of the next fashion trend by the color of their rivers! That’s just downright scary. Most factories that produce textiles dump their wastewater and the untreated toxic substances into rivers.
So not only is the fashion industry polluting water, but they’re drastically increasing water scarcity by using up too much clean water. It’s a thirsty industry.
Fashion And Animal Cruelty
I think we can all agree that we hate Cruella De Vil. As children, we were probably horrified that such terrible people exist, but it’s just a movie, right? It is a movie, but the act is real. There are A LOT of the likes of Cruella in the world, and they’re just as cruel. People have used the leather, wool, and fur of animals for so long killing more animals than we can count. Animals are farmed, trapped and skinned in the most inhumane and awful ways you could imagine.
Many different species are now endangered in the name of the fur trade! According to studies, the rate of extinction has become one species per day! Every animal plays a role in the environment, and its extinction leads to a great impact on the environment and biodiversity.
Fashion Detox: The Way to Sustainable Fashion
Sustainable Fashion: Say No To Plastic & Toxic Chemicals
The amount of plastic in the oceans raised an alarm with the drop of an albatross! Many clothing and sneaker brands started to become more environmentally aware due to their social and global responsibility. Major brands took the initiative to make the world a cleaner more stylish place. And in the process, we’re getting some very interesting designs, some of which are fully BIODEGRADABLE. And in fact, people are becoming more and more interested in sustainable brands and ethical fashion. A Detox campaign by Greenpeace started 7 years ago to influence big fashion brands to start using eco-friendly alternatives to create sustainable clothes!
Our favorite sneaker brands like Adidas and Nike are on board on this campaign as well! So things are starting to look better for us sneakerheads. We can wear our sneakers without a hint of guilt or worry!
Adidas and Nike Care About the Environment!
Adidas joined forces with Parley to transform threat into thread! They took plastic from the ocean and made them into sneakers! Like the Parley UltraBoost or the NMD Editions. Their purpose is to clean the oceans of plastic and thus reduce pollution all while saving wildlife. They want to provide us with stylish sneakers all while cleaning up the ocean and saving us and marine wildlife.
Nike has the Reuse A Shoe program that aims towards zero carbon and zero waste! They claim to have used 50% recycled material in every Nike Air soles made since! They also use Nike Grind material to create track surfaces, gym flooring, and playground surfaces! Nike is now constantly looking for new ways to decrease the impact of its sneakers and apparel on the environment and empower sustainable fashion! Even their shoeboxes contain 100% recycled material!
Sportswear & Streetwear Join the Journey!
Sportswear brands like Puma, Nike, Adidas, and Li-ning have all committed Greenpeace to find cleaner alternatives and aim towards zero discharge of hazardous wastes and better treatment.
Streetwear brands like Supreme also need to use their influential voice to spread awareness so that streetwear stops having a sustainability problem. Supreme already has a face mask that we’ll probably need when there’s no longer any clean air to breathe. But if they commit to the cause, other brands will commit too and maybe it won’t come to this! Some of them are already on the road to sustainable fashion in streetwear, like DEFEUA. They say that their approach to sustainable fashion is being as responsible as possible.
Sustainable Fashion: Say No To Animal Cruelty
2019 marked a win for animals and a huge fat L for fur and leather in fashion. That’s an L we’d gladly take any day. The fashion industry has finally started to walk away from using real fur and are taking stands against animal cruelty. Fur is now banned in brands like Burberry, Gucci, and Versace choosing to use faux fur instead. A campaign run by PETA against the use of fur and exotic animal skins has urged fashion brands to stop this act of cruelty.
Sustainability has become a word that turns a few heads now. People are becoming more aware of their health and future. Just as people think twice about the food they put in their bodies, they are also starting to think about the clothes they put on their skin. People are becoming mindful shoppers. Everyone is moving towards sustainable fashion! Even the Yeezy king, Kanye West, revealed that his next sneaker is going to be made out of algae foam! So, how far will Adidas go to make their Boost sustainable? We’ll let 2020 decide.
Hey, we might not be doomed after all.