If every piece of clothing on the shelf had price tags, telling us not what they costed in money, but their impact on the environment and farmers/artisans/craftsmen, trust us, shopping sprees wouldn’t be as therapeutic as they are deemed to be! As consumers we can all do better. You can be aware of the consequences of your little decisions and find better ways of shopping, caring for and mending your clothes. And we are here to help!
Cotton, a fluffy, perpetually thirsty plant grown especially for the garment industry, can take upto 700 gallons of water to produce enough cotton for one T-Shirt! This is enough water for a person to drink for 2.5 years! It also accounts for the global sales of 24% of insecticides and 11% of pesticides. These chemicals affect the crop land, ground water and air drastically, which adversely affects all life forms and gives diseases to our farmers.
More than 70 billion barrels of crude oil is used every year to produce polyester. Nylon is even more resource intensive. Not to forget the green house gases that get released in the process of creation of these fabrics.
Organic cotton is an easy alternative which protects our land and people from harmful chemicals. There are other imaginative alternatives like fibres made from eucalyptus, bamboo, orange, corn etc. Or look out for garments made in more alternative fabrics. You have the power to purchase. Use it wisely. We hope to do our bit in making these fabrics more mainstream! We also choose to work with fabrics that are discarded during production hence saving resources that would have gone into making virgin fabric while reducing wastes that the industry is generating!
DYEING TO DIE
Textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally, responsible for upto a 20% of global freshwater pollution. Almost 90% of all dyeing units release the harmful, toxic, untreated residues directly into local freshwater supplies .
According to an investigation by Greenpeace, chemicals found in clothing include nonylphenol, toxic per-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs), and azo dyes all of which can cause cancer in humans and be lethal for animals/aquatic life. Our local filtration plants are not equipped to filter these out either and these chemicals can easily reach our households and fields .
Post-cutting waste, stitching waste, defected fabrics, mis-prints and end of the line fabrics in mass production set ups account to approximately 16-20% of the total fabric consumption (in a large scale garment production unit in India this could be equivalent to 45000 metres of fabric daily). To add to this waste, approximately 1.5 – 2% of garment produced is rejected due to defects, in a large scale unit it could account up-to 1500-2000 pieces a day.
In a mean prediction, cutting room waste in just India, China and Bangladesh amounts to 80 billion square meters of fabric every year that ends up in landfills . These mounds of fabric are choking the planet!
Let us pledge to buy more garments made in recycled fabric, invest in labels upcycling, donate your unused pieces. Finally, buying well finished garments and making them last can go a long way!
The fourth largest industrial disaster in history, the collapse of Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013 took the lives of 1,138 people. The building, housing five garment factories for various global brands accommodated almost 3,122 workers at its fullest. Most of these workers were women. Makes one think if it is worth it, doesn’t it?
75 million people work in the fashion industry. Over 80% of the garment workers women and 21 million people work in forced labour. The demand for fast fashion has created irresponsible production practices. Cases of slavery, child labor, unhealthy living conditions, unfair trade practices, gender pay inequalities are more common than we imagine!  As consumers shouldn’t we be sensitive to the needs of those who are making our clothes?
Lets pause and think about making more conscious decisions. When we increase the demand for fair trade and invest in brand that give their artisans a voice more brands will be forced to change their ways. Let’s start making a difference one step at a time. Like Robert Swan rightly puts it, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
DON’T BE A PART OF THE PROBLEM
An average person buys 60% more clothing they did 15 years ago . We are simply buying and discarding far too fast. But what you throw away doesn’t just go away! It lives on in landfills and pollutes our oceans. A simple cotton t-shirt can take anywhere between 1-5 months to decompose, while a dress made of polyester will live for as long as 200 years.
Why should we follow seasonal trends when our contribution to waste creation is so depressingly constant. Trends do not define fashion, stories do. A garment with a story makes us wear it longer, repair it and dispose it ethically. This is the happier, greener version of ‘Retail Therapy’ we believe in.
So, next time you shop for clothes, take a step back and ask yourself, What is the cost of this?
Fashion has become the second largest polluting industry in the world. From adding to landfills both post and pre-consumer waste, polluting our rivers with toxic dyes, adding pesticides to groundwater that feeds our crop to manipulating the artisans that work to create this wearable art. There is something really wrong in the way this industry has grown and conscious decisions as consumer can help change that.
So join us in making fashion as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside!