The Fashion Industries’ Climate Change Epidemic

McKenzie Campbell 

Staff Writer 

In a world where fast fashion thrives, it may be difficult to believe that fast fashion industries are not entirely eco-friendly. From stores like Zara and Forever 21, the brands rely heavily on practices that affect the environment poorly. In response, multiple brands, both luxury and affordable, have made the switch to sustainable fashion to help combat the growing climate change epidemic.

It’s hard to resist that cute top from Abercrombie and Fitch and those cheap shoes from H&M, or even the fast shipping that goes along with it. That’s just a few of the many perks of fast fashion. 

Inspired by the most recent runway trends, the brands will cut the price in half compared to its high fashion predecessor for those looking to buy trendy clothing at a reasonable price. Like its name, the items either go out of style fast, or are ruined because of its creation through cheap materials and are then typically thrown in the garbage and sent to a landfill. 

Sustainyourstyle.org reported that textiles at the landfill are responsible for 5.2 percent of the waste it holds because of the non-biodegradable synthetic fiber, polyester. Even if in small percentages, polyester is present in the majority of fast fashion clothing.

The pollution does not just stem from the landfill. According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Climate Change, “the fashion industry…contributes to around 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production.” Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is emitted primarily during the production of synthetic fibers used in fast fashion. These greenhouse gas emissions are one of the leading causes of climate change.

However, there are brands trying to fight unethical fashion and their practices. Recently, thehollywoodreporter.com reported that luxury brand Gucci claimed its production would soon be carbon neutral. Attempting to lessen the carbon footprint produced by major businesses could have lasting effects on the environment.

 Other brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry are also taking steps towards sustainability. This means changing how clothing is made, how long it takes to make it and how it is delivered to consumers. 

Some great affordable fashion brands that pride themselves on their ethical production and delivery include Levi’s, PACT, Everlane, Kotn and People Tree. American Eagle has also recently joined in on the sustainability movement. The brands may have slightly higher prices than that of fast fashion, but the quality is long lasting because of the use of natural fibers that decompose quickly and they do not require oil and coal in their production.

Reselling through second-hand sites like thredup, Poshmark, eBay, or just shopping at a local thrift store could also have positive effects for the climate.

Word Count: 449

Links:

https://unfccc.int/news/un-helps-fashion-industry-shift-to-low-carbon

https://www.sustainyourstyle.org/old-environmental-impacts

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/fashion-brands-take-sustainability-spring-2020-1242765

http://www.thestylishvagabond.com/2018/03/10-clothing-companies-that-are.html



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  1. The Fashion Industries’ Climate Change Epidemic – The Carolinian – ThePlanet1st

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