why is sustainable fashion worth attention?

how sustainability is reshaping the industry

Please kindly let me draw your attention to the video below. This is why I would like to talk about sustainable fashion.

The True Cost

Above documentary is filed right after the tragedy — Dhaka garment factory collapse(2013). Similar to #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements, after the tragedy, we learned to pay attention.

Definition of sustainable fashion

Sustainable fashion refers to clothing that is designed, manufactured, distributed, and used in ways that are environmentally friendly.
- Green Dreamer

Sustainability concerns are two-folded: Environmental and Social.

Environmental

Talking about environmental concern, let’s divide it into 2 parts:
during manufacturing and after it. Manufacturing process leads to dyed/ chemical-processed water waste, abundant water consumption, CO2 emission, pesticides usage, etc. After we bought our clothes, one washing cycle of polyester cloth can generate and release over 700K microplastics into the ocean. And non-biodegradable cloth can take up to 200 years to break down.

Photo by Ana Itonishvili on Unsplash

Social

Apart from the instinct linkage between the word sustainability and environment, social responsibility is another big pillow of this topic. Cloth is necessary to our life, but none of us want to pay 10USD less in the cost of another human being’s life. While this issue is not at all easy to solve, there are things that we can do. Blockchain can be one of the solutions and some brands worth an applause for their dedication in the issue.

Photo by Francois Le Nguyen on Unsplash

How serious is it?

Fashion industry was responsible for 4% of total greenhouse-gas emissions globally. In the other words, the industry emits the same amount of GHG as the entire economies of France, Germany, and the UK combined.

Per year, the industry consumed 79 trillion liters of water, 5% of global freshwater withdrawal. In another context, it is 3000 liters of water per cotton shirt approximately. Buying one less cloth, it save a month of your showering water.

It can be a bit overwhelmed for us to memorize which composition is natural , biodegradable or consuming tons of water. Look at the 3 steps takeaway for a simple resort.

Photo by Hayley Catherine on Unsplash

If you would like to go into details, please refer to below content.

Sustainable Composition

Organic Cotton — Sustainable Score: 9/10

Pros: Natural fiber, no pesticides or chemical, biodegradable

Cons: water-consuming, pricy

Lenzing — Sustainable Score: 9/10

Pros: Natural fiber, biodegradable, anti-bacterial, consume less water

Cons: Chemical process required

Hemp — Sustainable Score: 9/10

Pros: Natural fiber, no chemical process required, biodegradable, anti-bacterial, consume less water

Cons: pricy

Linen — Sustainable Score: 8/10

Pros: Natural fiber, no chemical process required, biodegradable, anti-bacterial

Cons: water-consuming

Silk— Sustainable Score: 8/10

Pros: Natural fiber, biodegradable, consume less water

Cons: pricy, silk worms are killed

Viscose/Rayon — Sustainable Score: 6-8/10

Pros: Natural origins, biodegradable, consume less water, affordable

Cons: chemical processed

Cotton — Sustainable Score: 7/10

Pros: Natural fibers, no chemical processing, biodegradable,

Cons: water-consuming, lots of pesticides required

Non-sustainable Composition

Polyester — Sustainable Score: 1/10

Pros: require less water, easy to care for, affordable

Cons: toxic chemicals originated, high energy consumption, CO2 emission, non-biodegradable

Nylon — Sustainable Score: 1/10

Pros: Require less water, affordable

Cons: chemical processed, GHG emission, non-biodegradable

In conclusion

Just like all social movements, we realized something injustice from the pain of a tragedy. Apart from grief, we should put our words into action.

Credit to: Green Dreamer & Vetta

About the Author

Gary Leung is a Data Scientist in Fashion Industry.

DeArt is a platform targeting Sustainability and E-commerce Trend. We believe fashion, AI and Big Data can drive sustainable fashion and keep an eye on the latest fashion trend. Click to know more about out platform.

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Data Scientist in High Fashion | On a mission to make the world a better place with data and technology