With climate being one of the main issues our planet is facing, we are all looking to contribute in lessening our impact and reducing our personal footprint. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and give up altogether with all the information out there and the general promotion of going to extreme lengths (#zerowaste). Being stuck in that kind of vicious circle is not gonna do you (or our planet) any favors. After all, many people doing small things imperfectly has more impact than a few people doing it perfectly. One small step that you can take? Start from your wardrobe.
It might sound somewhat surprising that fashion is one of the most polluting industries out there. It really breaks our hearts to realize that behind the clothes we order and express ourselves through, lies so much plastic pollution, a high carbon footprint, extremely high water consumption, and massive textile incinerations. The main culprit? Mass manufacturing. Overproduction in fashion and especially fast fashion is what has turned the $2.5 trillion industry into one of the most polluting industries in the world.
To give you a brief idea:
- Fashion is the second-biggest consumer of water globally, enough to meet the needs of 5 million people every year. (UNCTAD)
- Washing clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. (UNEP, Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
- The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions. (UNEP)
And even though the above factors are alarming, there’s one issue that seems to be left aside: Incinerating discarded clothing, or depositing it in landfills. Fashion brands and consumers who order clothes rather frequently both have a role to play.
Fashion brands and excess stock:
The mere presence of excess stock is an issue because regardless what brands decide to do with it, there is hardly any eco-friendly alterative to deal with it. Its storage requires high CO2 consumption warehouses. If it’s to be disposed in landfills, it will likely be there for a long time. In the scenario of burning it, chemicals are released in the air. Another reason for burning clothes which has been in the spotlight of news recently is brands (especially high end brands) burning unsold clothes that are in perfectly good condition in order to maintain exclusivity through scarcity. The only alternative that has less impact on the environment is recycling, but according to Pulse Report, in 2017 only 10% of discarded clothing is recycled. The majority of it (57%) is sent to landfill, and 25% is incinerated.
However, there’s a way to prevent excess stock altogether, and that is called Made-to-Order shopping. It’s what we’ve been doing at Frobolous since day one and it’s part of our Ethical Fashion philosophy. It’s very simple: production starts only after an order is placed. This way, not only do we prevent using unneeded amounts of resources during production, but we also avoid the creation of stock, and hence excess stock.
The impact of consumer behavior:
Fast fashion has been promoting a culture of treating clothes like disposable items: meant to be thrown away once they go “out of fashion”. This kind of culture supports overproduction and overconsumption in an unhealthy and unsustainable way. As customers, we enter a cycle of buy-and-dump, whilst producers sell-and-dump. Given that there is no Planet B, that is a lot of dumping.
However, there is significant progress being made. We have been amazed at the support we have had ever since our launch earlier this year, and we think ethics are a big part of it. More and more people are gaining awareness when it comes to this matter. 62% of Gen Z consumers, (those born after 1995), prefer to buy from Ethical Fashion brands, and that is great news! Our shopping habits can make all the difference in the world if we commit to making small changes little by little, and ordering clothes that are made only for you is a great place to start.
Crafting everything to order is one of the policies we take pride in implementing, and each time you buy one of our dresses, you are supporting us in continuing to find more ways in increasing our commitment to protecting the environment. Remember that every time we buy or order clothes, we have the power to vote with our money, and we are communicating our beliefs and preferences to manufacturers. We can decide that overproduction is an unnecessary evil, and we can choose to change our behavior so that we order clothes that don’t come at a high environmental price tag.