We only wear 20% of our wardrobe regularly!
It is a shocking fact that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time, and the figure is even less for 13%! So why wasting so much precious resources of the planet on the fashion industry?
The ugly truth of the fashion industry
Currently, about 69% of clothing is made of synthetic fibers such as elastane, nylon and acrylic. Polyester is the most common and accounts for 52% of total fiber production. The unique durability and versatility of plastics has made them an integral part of the fashion industry.
The raw material for these fibers is fossil fuels. Textile production consumes 1.35% of the world's oil production, consumes more oil than Spain uses in a year, and contributes significantly to the huge carbon dioxide emissions of the fashion industry. Synthetic fibers continue to affect the environment long after they are manufactured, and when you wash your clothes, plastic microfibers are released into the environment.
The environmental impacts of the fashion industry
The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second (UNEP, 2018)
Approximately 60% of all materials used by the fashion industry are made from plastic (UNEP, 2019)
500,000 tons of microfibers are released into the ocean each year from washing clothes — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)
The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of humanity’s carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined (UNEP, 2018). If the fashion sector continues on its current trajectory, that share of the carbon budget could jump to 26% by 2050 (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)
Some 93 billion cubic metres of water – enough to meet the needs of five million people – is used by the fashion industry annually, contributing significantly to water scarcity in some regions (UNCTAD, 2020)
Around 20% of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide originates from the fashion industry (WRI, 2017)
Clothes from recycled materials?
Many major brands have set goals. H&M, Madewell, J Crew and Gap Inc have decided to increase their recycled polyester content to 45% by 2025 as part of the Recycled Polyester Challenge led by Textile Exchange, a non-profit organization specializing in recruitment expansion. It is one of the more than 70 promised brands. They have established fibers with low impact resistance throughout the textile industry.
Demand for recycled plastics from industries such as fashion is expected to increase. Sina Hanna, Nike's Vice President of Sustainable Innovation, says that 60% of Nike's products use "recycled materials." Recycled polyester is an important focus. “Nike is the industry's largest user of recycled poly, removing an average of over 1 billion PET bottles annually from landfills,” says Hannah.
Products manufactured in a sustainable way are in fashion. In fact, according to The Sustainability EDIT, products listed with sustainable keywords increased 176% from 2019 and 52% year-on-year in 2021. This initiative works across categories, with shoes accounting for 7% of new sustainable menswear products and 3% of womenswear. To ensure that the assortment meets customer expectations, retailers need to use market intelligence to find competitor assortment gaps and fill these gaps when planning their own assortment.
Source: the Internet