Fashion has long been perceived as a major contributor to forest fires, rising sea levels, unfair wages, exploitation of labour and overflowing landfills. Unfortunately, these perceptions hold true. It takes over 4,000 litres of water to make a pair of jeans and most of that water is not recycled – indeed, one-fifth of all wastewater globally originates from fashion. The industry is also responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, that’s more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
The entire fashion industry has been vilified for years. More recently, observers have lamented the rise of fast fashion for its unethical manufacturing practices, and general lack of respect for the environment. Yet despite the backlash, most fast-fashion companies have continued to grow.
As humans, we feel the social pressure to conform to attitudes that are widely accepted by society, often socially claiming that we support these causes even if our actions are not aligned with our claims. While most people are aware that ethical initiatives are important for a better future, they don’t easily deviate from their default behaviour, especially when it offers perks like affordability, style, and convenience.