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We must reduce the number of clothes we buy by 75% to make our wardrobes more sustainable.

We must reduce the number of clothes we buy by 75% to make our wardrobes more sustainable.

Garment workers in Bangladesh, 2021

If things don’t change fast, the fashion industry could use a quarter of the world’s remaining global carbon budget to keep warming under 2℃ by 2050, and use 35% more land to produce fibres by 2030.

While this seems incredible, it’s not. The past 15-years have seen a significant increase in clothing production has doubledHowever, the actual time we wear these clothes has fallen by almost 40%. Falling prices have led to people buying clothes in the EU. More clothingIt’s easier than ever to save money while still getting more results.

This is not sustainable. Something has to give. We are grateful for your support. Recent reportWe propose the idea for a wellness wardrobe, a new fashion direction that prioritizes human and environmental well-being over ever-growing consumptions of throwaway fast-fashion.

What would it look like? It would mean we all cut down on the number of clothes we buy. 75%Buy clothes that are durable and recycle clothes at the end of their lives.

It would include reducing the income of the people who make the clothes and supporting workers who might lose their jobs in a transition to a more sustainable sector.

Garment workers in Bangladesh, 2021

Fashion comes at a high price.

Industry efforts to sustain sustainability are not enough

Fashion is changing rapidly. Fast fashion is being replaced. Fashion that moves super fastThe market has seen unprecedented numbers of new clothing releases.

Since the start of the year, fast fashion giants H&M and Zara have launched Around 11,000 new styles combined.

Shein, an ultra-fast fashion brand, has also produced a staggering 314,877 styles. Shein is currently the Australia’s most downloaded shopping app. As you’d expect, this acceleration is producing a tremendous amount of waste.

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The fashion industry has come up with a number of solutions. Many sustainability initiatives place economic opportunity and growth above environmental concerns.

Good work can be done to shift to more sustainable textiles and fabrics, as well as offer ethically conscious options. Unfortunately, they do very little to actually confront the sector’s rapidly increasing consumption of resources and waste generation.

Pile of clothes in landfill
Bangladeshi textile waste goes to landfill
Swapan Photography/Shutterstock

Added to this, Abuses of labour rightsThere are many supply chain workers.

Over the past five years, the industry’s issues of child labour, discrimination and forced labour have worsened globally. The major garment producing countries, including Myanmar, Cambodia and Bangladesh, are considered to be an “anonymous”. “extreme risk”Modern slavery

Here’s what we can do to tackle the situation.

1. Limit your resource consumption

It is important to have open and honest conversations between consumers, governments, and industry about how to limit the use of resources in the fashion sector. As a society, it is important to discuss the amount of clothing we wear. It is enoughTo live well.

It means that you buy fewer clothes and think twice about where your clothes come from. Renting or buying secondhand clothes are two ways to change your wardrobe with less impact.

2. Expand the slow fashion movement

The growing Slow fashion movementThe focus is on quality and not quantity. Classic styles are preferred over fast-changing trends.

To extend the life expectancy of clothes that we already own, we must pay more attention to their care. This includes restoring lost skills like sewing and mending.

Person browses second hand clothes at market
Vintage market: Secondhand clothing for sale
Antonello Marangi/Shutterstock,

3. New exchange systems

The wellbeing wardrobe would involve abandoning existing fashion business models and adopting new systems for exchange such as cooperatives, not-for profit social enterprises, and collaborative consumption models. B-corps.

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What are these? These are collaborative consumption models that allow you to share or rent clothing. Social enterprises or B-corps, on the other hand, are businesses that serve a purpose other than making a profit.

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The true cost of fast fashion is evident when you follow a t-shirt from the cotton field to the landfill

There are also methods that don’t rely on money, such as swapping or borrowing clothes with friends and altering or redesigning clothes in repair cafes and sewing circles.

4. Clothing cultures reflect diversity

We, consumers, must promote a variety in clothing cultures. Indigenous fashion designRespect for the environment is at its core.

Communities of exchange should be encouraged and supported to recognize the cultural and social value of clothing. They should also be encouraged to create emotional connections with clothes and support their long-term care.

Person sewing clothes in factory
Arrival Fashion Limited is a garment company based in Gazipur Bangladesh.
Mahmud Hossain Opu/AAP

What are you waiting for?

It will not be easy to transform fashion from a model of perpetual growth into a sustainable model. To transition to a post-growth fashion sector, policymakers and industry must implement a variety of reforms and re-imagine their roles and responsibilities.

This might seem too difficult. However, the status quo cannot continue with constant growth.

It’s better we act to shape the future of fashion and work towards a wardrobe good for people and planet – rather than let a tidal wave of wasted clothing soak up resources, energy and our very limited carbon budget.

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