Brands, Retailers, Independents and Mom & Pop shops are all moving their focus to sustainability. At the 2019 Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference, 23 renowned Global brands pledged to use 100% sustainable cotton by 2025 (Sustainable Cotton Communique). Zara has gone 1 step further and pledged to work with 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025. The issue was also bought up at the G7 this year where the heads of the biggest Global brands joined world leaders in making a pledge to move to sustainability-a global pact to fight the climate crisis and protect biodiversity and the oceans
Nice initiatives but the question is if it is enough to reverse the impact of fashion on Climate change? Currently the Fashion industry is the 2nd biggest polluter (after oil) and has a bigger carbon bill than the shipping and aeronautical industries combined.
|What||How||Let’s stop it|
|Water Pollution||Untreated toxic wastewater from textile factories are leashed onto water bodies, especially in developing countries. These toxics contain harmful material such as lead, arsenic etc which is harmful for aquatic life. Cotton production also utilizes a lot of fertilizers which heavily pollutes water||Purchase only clothes made in countries with reasonable environment laws
Choose Natural fibres such as Jute
|Water Consumption||Cotton, the most widespread fabric used in fashion needs a LOT of water. 20000 Litres of water is needed to produce 1 kg of cotton!||Choose fibres with less water consumption such as jute, linen, recycled fibres|
|Plastic in Food chain||Every wash of a synthetic garment leads to about 2000 microfibers in the water, which through small aquatic animals, find its way into the food chain leading to plastics in almost all living organisms||Use Natural fibres|
|Chemical Pollution||Chemicals are widely used in fashion during dyeing, bleaching, fibre processing and wet processing. This leads to premature death of harvesting farmers, water pollution & soil degradation||Choose Organic Fibres
Choose Sustainable Fibres
Wash new clothes before using
Use OEKO-TEX®, GOTS, or BLUESIGN® certified garments
|Greenhouse Gas Pollution||Synthetic fibres, most widely used, is produced from fossil fuels making it very energy intensive. Most of our clothes are also produced in coal using developing countries, which is the dirtiest type of energy for our environment||Choose Natural fibres
Buy Clothes produced in countries with more renewable energy
|Soil Degradation||Soil erosion is a major threat to food security & global warming. Fashion industry makes this worse by overgrazing of pastures for Cashmere, massive use of chemicals and deforestation to harness nylon etc||Choose fibres friendly to soil such as Jute|
Jute has the distinction of being one of the most sustainable fibers in the world, however Jute has traditionally not been focused to serve the need for high-end fashion items. The problem of jute fiber is its fiber staple length (1.0-1.50 meter) and higher micronaire (7+). With the conventional jute spinning system, finest count that can be made is Ne 5/s that is very coarse. However recent advances in Jute-tech and the emergence of Juton (Jute+cotton) has led to Jute being embraced in fashion, especially in the East.
The added softness and breeziness of cotton makes jute less coarse and much more comfortable. This kind of fabric still retains the interesting golden aesthetic of jute but has a softer feel which is why it is used to make all types of stylish and affordable daily wear clothes. Blended jute fabrics are also used to make more formal garments such as suits and dresses, though these tend to be a bit more colorful in their look. Too many heavy embellishments would not really suit the home spun, earthy vibe of jute, which is why the most favored technique for decorating this fabric is printing. Printed jute fabric comes with many types of western as well as ethnic motifs and designs done in vibrant colors. These can be done using the traditional block printing method used in Indian subcontinent, in which wooden blocks engraved with designs are dipped in paint and then pressed on to the fabric, or they can be printed using machines.