To the average consumer, the easy access to money-friendly fashion accessories and clothing seems extremely beneficial – especially to students!
The low cost of production and seamless supply chains, coupled with higher consumer spending, has seen a spike in the production and consumption of clothing.
So, what are the implications of the fast-fashion frenzy that has been rising since the turn of millennium in the Western world? Take a look at these facts and consider them on your next shopping spree:
1. Garment workers in developing countries, especially children, can earn as little as $10 a month for labour-intensive work such as beading and embroidering.
2. After oil, fashion is the world’s second most polluting industry due to the use of pesticides, formaldehyde, carcinogens etc. in the fabrics that are used to make the clothes we wear.
3. On average, an individual in the UK produces up to 70 kilograms of fabric waste each year. While cheap and fast fashion allows consumers to spend less, we are also buying more than we need.
4. In the UK, each household emits about 1.5 tons of CO2 from new and current clothing. This is similar to the carbon footprint of an average modern car that has covered about 6,000 miles.
5. Consumers in the USA put out 1.2 million tonnes of clothing waste which is equal to 15 percent of the clothing sales in the country. Up to 50 percent of these clothes are given to charity and about 226,000 tonnes are recycled and reused.
6. Producing one pair of jeans requires an average of 7,000 litres of water or the equivalent of the amount of water someone in the Western world drinks over a period of five years. Consider that a 2 billion pairs of jeans are manufactured every year and 20 percent of the world’s industrial water pollution is attributable to treatment and dying of textiles.
7. In the UK alone, £140m worth of clothing goes to landfill every year, with 15% of fabric been wasted at the cut-off stage of production.
8. One in six people work in garment industries all over the world. Women make up the majority of these workers and earn as little as $3 per day.
9. Just 10 percent of the clothes donated to charity are sold. 90 percent end up in landfills or are sold in developing countries where they contribute to killing the local textile industry.
10. The world uses an estimated 80 billion pieces of clothing every year, a 400 percent increase from two decades ago.