It is estimated that by 2030 the world population will reach 8.5 billion people and that the global apparel consumption will rise by 63%. Which means that will be produced more than 500 billion additional T-shirts. The current fashion system is unsustainable, even more now that we are living a crisis caused by serious public health and economic problems, is now time for fashion to drive into a more sustainable system, where not only the people, butalso the planet will benefit from.
But the real question is, will fashion ever be good for our planet?
The change should start from us as individuals, we are more likely to buy 10 different pair of trousers at low cost and poor quality, rather than buying two or three at higher costs but better quality. Due to this mentality we produce a continuous waste that highly affect our planet. If the demand is high, it follows that production will increase. Most of the low-cost items on the market are made of materials like polyester. It has been estimated that around 70 million barrels of oil a year are used to make polyester fibres in our clothes. A shirt made from polyester has double the carbon footprint compared to one made from cotton. A polyester shirt produces the equivalent of 5.5kg of carbon dioxide compared to 2.1kg from a cotton shirt.
As the population will grow, also the demand will increase year by year, this will cause serious consequences for the planet. In order to avoid it, changes have to be made also by designers, who should start becoming eco-friendly by reducing the micro fibres that are released into the environment, supporting animal rights and reducing toxic waste, using sustainable practice to produce clothes, avoiding harmful procedures while manufacturing clothes. There are already brands doing it right, like Stella McCartney that since the launch of her fashion house in 2001, she is one of the pioneers of eco-friendly fashion and offers sustainable wardrobe alternatives. The materials used by this designer include organic cotton, ethically sourced wool, recycled textiles while excluding fur and leather, but there are also Eileen Fisher, Vivienne Westwood, who says “Buy Less, Choose Well, and Make It Last”.
Both customers and brands have to make their way into more responsible choices. It is time for a new social and environmental contract. We have a unique opportunity to rebuild the system on the basis of respect, dignity, and responsibility. And after this pandemic, the world start realizing what are the priorities, it follows that customers and suppliers will have to be more mindful about resources, transparency and circular systems. Moreover, they have to start being respectful towards the planet. In this way the fashion system will embrace a responsible way of making choices that do not hazard us as human beings and the planet where we live in.
By Alice Del Rossi