Globally, the fashion industry of today faces a major threat where new trends are approaching us faster than we sometimes wish for. This leads to society buying and throwing in abundance. Moreover, fashion is a constant, and the need to succeed in producing and consuming is at its highest.
According to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, clothing production worldwide has roughly doubled in the last fifteen years. At the same time, the actual use of clothing has declined by almost 40%. The so-called “fast fashion” phenomenon is majorly responsible for this, with an increasing number of collections offered per year at lower prices. As mentioned above, we are in the midst of a “Make, Use, and Throw” system which has proven to be ineffective, dangerous, and destructive. This throw-away culture is glorified through fashion shows across the world, and it has had its toll on the environment, unable to catch up with the industry’s cycle.
Furthermore, the textile industry relies mostly on non-renewable resources (oil, cotton, synthetic fibers, chemicals, dyes) and is enormously harmful as recycling is merely existent. This immense footprint is pressured by society’s growing demands and needs. The industry’s linear system is a never-ending loss of resources and opportunities. In addition, clothing is massively underutilized. Many brands have placed their factories in low-income countries to increase profits. They target and take advantage of cheap labor and low-cost resources which opens the door for oppression. The work restrictions and conditions significantly low, allowing them to produce in masses before importing everything in markets where the usage rate can be as low as seven to ten "wears" per garment.
But not only consumers exhibit such wasteful practices. Several brands contribute to the destruction of millions of articles by burning them in landfills. There is clearly a lack of guidance and companies need best practices, tools, and training to achieve corporate sustainability. Companies should be operating with integrity, looking beyond themselves to support the societies around them, committing publicly with the leadership board, reporting progress, and acting within their local principles.