Fashion as we know it is not sustainable.
We treat our clothes like trash and consume them instead of owning them. And it’s not a trivial matter.
- Approximately 100 billion clothes are produced annually and some brands are burning unsold inventory.
- The average closet has over 300 items but yet we feel like we have nothing to wear.
- In the United States, approximately 21 billion pounds of textiles are thrown into landfills every year.
- Over 3.5 billion pounds of clothes are donated in the U.S. each year but only about 10-20% are resold in thrift stores.
- Micro-fibers from washing synthetic fibers, typically found in cheaper, fast fashion clothes are in our drinking water and oceans (and are in our food too!)
- Rayon is often made from trees in old-grown forests meaning your clothes may be destroying a rainforest.
These startling numbers do not even account for the tremendous amount of resources needed for garment production including energy, water and pesticide use.
The fashion industry currently uses 98 million tons of oil to make synthetic fibers; it contributes 20% to the world’s water pollution due to toxic dyes; and it generates 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases [Fast Company]. Approximately 145 million tons of coal and approximately of 1.5-2 trillion gallons of water go into fiber production every year (2012 data) [Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline]. Cotton uses up to 25% of the worlds’ insecticide use and 18% of the world’s pesticide use.
What about the people who make our clothes?
Most garment workers are women who are not paid fair or living wages and frequently work in dangerous conditions. The Rana Plaza Factory collapse claimed over 1,100 lives and injured more than 2,000 people. Sadly this was not an isolated incident.
Sustainability is defined as the ability for the current generation of people on this planet to meet their needs without impacting the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Our current fashion and shopping habits are not sustainable and they aren’t good for our style either!
Continually shopping and throwing away clothes is does not help you build a wardrobe to honor your style.
It’s time to Reduce, Reuse and RESTYLE!
Many of my clients have closets full of clothes and accessories that they keep though they no longer wear these items. As a result, they have closets full of nice clothes but “nothing to wear.” They buy more clothes, and the cycle continues. In the end, they haven’t developed their sense of style and their closets are temporary homes for their clothes. They are not creating wardrobes but are just mindlessly shopping.
Nothing to wear and what I do differently to create sustainable style
When I work with my clients, I break this consumption cycle by restyling the clothes they own to create new outfits and shop for them at consignment stores and/or from sustainable brands. It is possible to be stylish and shop from secondhand sources or purchase new clothing from responsible, ethical and sustainable sources. I have been doing this for years. Sustainable style means creating a wardrobe, it means investing in clothes you want to keep that honor your style, and it looks just as good or even better when you shop secondhand!
If you would like to learn more about my work, the process and the transformation that comes from working with a stylist, I would love to chat. Contact me here.