The fashion industry has been under scrutiny for its detrimental impact on the environment. As one of the most polluting industries globally, it is high time for change. However, there is a glimmer of hope as big brands are now exploring sustainability in their product design and accepting responsibility for their carbon footprint.
The fashion industry’s contribution to climate change cannot be ignored. In 2019, it ranked as the third biggest manufacturing industry, trailing only behind automotive and technology. Shockingly, fashion and textile production generate more carbon emissions than international aviation and shipping combined, accounting for 8% of global emissions.
Fast fashion, characterized by brands quickly producing cheap and disposable clothing, has emerged as one of the biggest culprits in the fashion industry’s environmental crisis. These brands prioritize trends over quality, resulting in garments that are not designed to last.
This approach leads to both physical waste, as low-quality materials deteriorate quickly, and social waste, as garments fall out of favour after only a few uses. Astonishingly, one in three young women considers clothing worn once or twice as old, perpetuating a culture of disposability.
While transforming the entire fashion industry overnight is a monumental task, influential brands can lead the way and inspire others to follow suit. Take the example of Tesla, which revolutionized the electric car industry by making it cool and desirable. Similarly, popular brands like Nike, Adidas, H&M, and Zara have the potential to drive change within the fashion industry.