What is the true cost of our clothing choices?

Think about the time and labour our ancestors put into creating fabric and clothing. It’s easy to understand why clothing was so highly valued.

Climate change is a threat

We are becoming more aware of what we eat and what we put on our bodies. We try to be careful about the type of cosmetics and other personal care products  we choose. We are becoming more aware of the social or environmental impacts or benefits of their consumption choices. This awareness is also beginning to affect parts of the apparel and fashion industry.

Currently, we buy a lot more clothes than we did 20 years ago. This is because of the change of seasons, style, capitalism (the idea that you can’t wear the same dress 2 holiday parties in a row). 

Fair working conditions to challenge the integrity of supply chains are becoming increasingly important, especially since the switch from natural materials to synthetic petrochemicals.

Who makes our clothes and how does it affect our planet?

There are a few reasons why our current fashion and apparel industry is problematic, but this is the biggest 2: 

  1. Fashion is the largest employer of women around the world, but only 2% of these workers receive a living wage.
  2. Aside from crude oil, fashion is the most polluting industry in the world. Did you know that it takes 2700 litres of water and 150g of chemicals to create a cotton t-shirt, with 20% of the world’s industrial water used to dye textiles, which affects the water supply and quality for people. people and the environment where dyeing takes place. I knew it was a lot, but seeing the numbers is eye opening. If climate change isn’t enough to disturb you, then think about the following: residual chemicals on clothing include lead, pesticides, insecticides, flame retardants and other known carcinogens, which are found on our largest organ, the skin.

Is there a solution?

Buy less clothes, but buy better quality. Make our money talk and make our actions work toward a world we want to see. 

There are many researchers, companies and communities working closely with nature, be it hemp, seaweed, pineapple, and bamboo to create materials for clothing. All of these innovations and research can be expensive and usually aren’t made in great quantities. I personally don’t mind having more unique choices. Our work office often feels like we are all clones since we all shop at the same places. Unfortunately, if you have financial issues like me, you can’t always choose the more expensive option.


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