How to combat Fast Fashion
Fast fashion — a recent buzz word — means rapidly designing, manufacturing and marketing clothes focused solely on volumes and not on quality. This has led to a rapid increase in garment purchase with colossal repercussions to the environment. The global apparel and footwear industry is the world’s third largest manufacturing industry and is responsible for more than 10% of annual global carbon emissions. It produced more green house gases than France, Germany and UK combined in 2018.
Know what you are wearing
As consumers, we should hold the brands accountable and ask companies for more transparency about their supply chain, social practices and eco credentials. We should be aware of how the brand is manufacturing the garments, the type of dye being used, the amount of water and energy that goes into making such garments, practices followed by brands across the garment supply chain till the end product is ready for us. We should choose the garments that are of better quality, can last longer and also have the minimal impact on the environment while manufacturing it. Avoid falling for quick changing trends and low-cost high volume poor quality manufacturing.
Buy clothes made from natural materials
Materials such as linen, cotton, wool and silk are derived from plants and biodegrade more easily than petroleum-based synthetics such as polyester and nylon which are actually made of plastic. Every time we wash synthetic fibres, they release thousands of tiny micro-fibres which go through our drain and eventually end up in rivers and oceans. Micro-fibres, just like any other plastic, do not biodegrade and can remain in oceans for hundreds of years.
Aftercare of garments at home
Environmental impact from the aftercare of garments is the use of water and energy used when we clean our clothes, the chemicals we use for cleaning, and microfibres that shed from synthetic garments every time they are washed.
Clothes are often washed at higher temperatures for better cleaning. This not only weakens the fabric but also uses much higher energy to clean the clothes (up to 90% more). Cleaning
the clothes at lower temperatures (up to 30 degrees Celsius) with the right detergent is enough to clean them properly. For drying, skip the tumble dryer and switch to line drying. This saves energy and eliminates the heat and friction happening in the dryer which significantly reduces the lifespan of clothes.
Use eco-friendly detergents
Most of the laundry detergents used by us contain phosphates, surfactants and optical brighteners that can adversely impact our skin and can also cause diseases such as asthma, if highly exposed to them. Also, these chemicals, through our drains find a way to the marine life and negatively impact them. There are eco-friendly plant based alternates to the traditional laundry chemicals that can be easily switched over to instead. You can trust Ethiek to be one of them.
Aftercare of garments that require professional cleaning
For wool, silk or other delicate garments, switch to wet cleaning instead of dry cleaning. Wet cleaning is the most sustainable process using the least amount of energy and no toxic chemicals. Conventional dry cleaners use toxic, carcinogenic chemicals such as perchloroethylene to clean the garments that are harmful for our skin, people who work on it and also the environment. Wet cleaning is the perfect alternate to that which can clean all types of delicates in a more sustainable, healthy and efficient way.
If you want to avoid going to a dry cleaner, you can also clean your wool and silk at home by carefully following the wash care label and using an enzyme free detergent such as Ethiek’s Silk & Wool detergent imported from UK. It is 100% naturally derived and extremely gentle on your delicate wear.
Each one of us should do our part to make our garments last longer and save our planet. We hope this article can help you to make some positive changes in your lifestyle.