4 Reasons to Opt For Sustainable Fashion

Anybody who has the barest of knowledge on the world’s health and the living life inside of it would know about the suffering wildlife and nature because of human actions. With trash taking its toll on the planet earth, those who care are looking towards ways to improve the situation for the present and future generations. According to Maxine Begat, co-founder of Zady, ‘the apparel industry is responsible for 10% of the total carbon output for the entire world. That’s 5 x more carbon output than airline travel combined.’

The fashion industry’s thriving on our spending, which means more and more clothes churned out and thrown away after little use. Then there are the changing trends that prompt us to get a different set of pants than the one we wore last week, and another unique top to go with it. Increasing awareness about good health and athleticism has motivated active lifestyle choices but they also mean we buy more clothing, for we want (perhaps more so than we need) different athletic wear for every day of the week. The time has come to make conscious choices for sustainable clothing, including sustainable activewear that lasts long and does not harm the ocean.

Let us look into imperative reasons that should motivate us, the consumers, to go for sustainable fashion:


It takes about 6,800 liters of water to grow enough cotton to produce a pair of jeans. In a world with already depleting sources of large water bodies, and melting glaciers due to global warming, this is a huge concern. Every new cotton crop uses gallons of insecticides and pesticides that get washed into rivers, ultimately causing water pollution that leads to death and disease of marine life.

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It takes nearly a pound of chemicals to make one t-shirt. But one does not suffice; we have a great number sitting in our drawers, and then there are types and styles of tees, along with colors and patterns, organic and synthetic, crisp and lawn, tailored and ready-to-wear, corduroy and silk, jackets and coats, and the list go on. How many do we wear, and how many do we let sit in the back of our closets gathering dust?

Because the average person goes through so many clothes in their lifetime, our spending habits are the reason factories and brands continue to churn out more and more clothes. If we started being more mindful of what we let into our lives and on our skin, planet earth would be happier. It is known that organic and sustainable fibers like hemp and bamboo, do lessen the amount of carbon given off during production.

Using locally produced clothing ensures that fewer fuel byproducts are given off in transportation, and the local producers get more business.


Fast fashion is a term used to define the quickness of arrival of new clothing trends from the catwalk to the consumer, and then to the garbage, ironic as it may be. There’s a thirst to be the first to adopt the latest style. This leads to mass consumerism and an increasing number of clothes ending up in the bin.

Besides the excessive use of natural resources, another problem area is when the retailer, and ultimately the corporation, end up earning about thirty times more than the factory worker. The fashion industry keeps bringing out more and more collections that prompt rash buying and heedless use of resources. If we were to give out one dress, every time we got a new one, it would encourage us to practice frugality and give our good quality clothes a new life.

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Until brands came up with ways to produce clothing that does not leave a negative footprint, saving the earth means using second-hand or refurbished pieces of clothing. Every wash uses up electricity and water and leaves water polluted with microfibers and detergent.


When we practice slow fashion in favor of sustainability, our act would prompt others to question and learn about our dying resources. Organizing events like BTR (Bristol Textile Recyclers)’s where they open their warehouse of donated clothes to journalists, artists, designers, fashion bloggers and students with a challenge to upcycle and create new outfits from old — is a good way to raise awareness and offer new ways to bring old clothes into use.

The washing of clothes and their care accounts for a third of the total carbon footprint of clothing, although the carbon footprint from the use phase of clothing is decreasing. The overall water footprint is negatively affected more by the production phase, as compared to their washing. Informing people of these facts has led to a dramatic reduction in the use of water for washing; in fact, people are more likely to wash now at 30 ̊C than before.

According to the SCAP footprint calculator, decreasing washing temperatures and reducing the frequency of tumble drying has meant a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 700,000 tone’s which translates to a respectable 3%.


Bristol Textile Recyclers (BTR) works to divert 20 tons of textiles from landfills on a daily basis. These are unwanted pieces of clothing that are then recycled within the UK and abroad. Many textile dealers also work with BTR. They sort through and look for vintage, high street clothing which is bought by people locally in the UK, and abroad. In North America, consumers throw out clothing in the equivalent of the Empire State building in weight every year.

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This waste is then burnt or ends up in landfills which is certainly not a sustainable way of doing business. Waste is our collective responsibility and we will have to take active steps towards its limitation. This also means taking responsibility for deforestation for the production of synthetics. Polyester that is quick to dry is great for athletic wear, however, it holds on to bacteria and ends up stinking which leads to the clothing being thrown away and adding to landfills. Then it takes just a few hundred years for the effective decomposition of that polyester.


The key takeaway here includes being vigilant in what we buy. We have to look for brands that are actively working at reducing their carbon footprint and using recycled material for the production of their fabrics. As time goes on, there will not be enough resources available to sustain our current cycle of careless consumption.