What’s wrong with the fashion industry?

The fall in the prices of garments over the last 20 years has allowed us to buy more and more clothing. Now we have 5 times as many clothes as our grandparents did. It felt amazing until we discovered what hidden behind this pattern.

In fact, this continuous accumulation of cheap garments is only possible due to a relentless reduction in the cost of production. This, in fact, has significant implications for the lives of our families, our world, and the lives of garment workers.

Fast Fashion: the monster in our closets

Fast fashion: the monster in our closets

It has become a challenge to wear a garment more than five times. Why?

1) Every year the quality of the garments decreases. As a consequence, our clothes look quickly dirty, shapeless, or worn out. 

2) Patterns are so fast evolving we can’t keep up. We keep on buying just to stay up to date.

This is Fast Fashion: Mass-production of cheap, disposable clothing. Countless new collections per year make us feel constantly out of date and encourage us to keep buying more.

What can we change about it? 

Find out about the available alternatives in the section “How to reduce our impact”.

Sustainable Fashion
Sustainable FashionSustainable Fashion
Sustainable Fashion
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Fashion’s Environmental Impacts

Fashion’s Environmental Impacts

Only after the oil sector, the apparel industry is the world’s second-largest polluter. And the harm to the ecosystem is growing as the sector expands.

There are, however, strategies and alternatives to alleviate those issues. The first step is to create knowledge and change-will.


Water contamination from the fashion industry Untreated toxic wastewater from textile factories is discharged directly into the rivers in most of the countries where garments are made. Wastewater contains hazardous substances including lead, mercury, and arsenic. These are particularly detrimental to marine life and the wellbeing of millions living on the banks of those rivers. Even the bacteria enters the sea and gradually spreads all over the globe. Another major source of water pollution is the use of cotton fertilizers which heavily pollute runoff waters and evaporative waters. What should we do in this respect? Pick clothing made for factories in countries with 
more stringent environmental regulations (EU, Canada, US …) Choose organic fibers and natural fibers that do not require chemicals to be produced.
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Water consumption of the fashion industry
The fashion industry is a large user of water.
For all our clothes a large amount of freshwater is used for the dyeing and finishing process. It can take up to 200 tonnes of fresh water per tonne of dyed cloth, as a comparison.
Cotton also requires A LOT of water (and heat) to grow but is typically grown in warm and dry areas. It takes up to 20,000 liters of water to generate only 1 kg of cotton.
This puts enormous pressure on this precious resource, which is already scarce and has drastic ecological effects, such as the Aral Sea desertification, where cotton production has drained the water entirely (see photo above).
“The water used to grow cotton in the country will cover 85 percent of the daily water needs of the entire Indian population. In India 100 million people have no access to drinking water, “says The Guardian’s Stephen Leahy.
What should we do in this respect?
Choose low-water fabrics such as linen, recycled fibers and so on


SustainYourStyle. (n.d.). Fashion & Environment. [online] Available at: https://www.sustainyourstyle.org/en/whats-wrong-with-the-fashion-industry?gclid=Cj0KCQjwhb36BRCfARIsAKcXh6F-mMLnaE7HGJre1YTZwmY2dVg-aC0x5xigd3AuPrNER1nEi9BgLkkaAhNzEALw_wcB.

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