Monday, September 5, 2016

The Clothing Crisis: Fast Fashion and Earth

Happy Labor Day!  I'm sort of feeling very work-logged today (tests, studying, cleaning, working, etc. etc. etc.), but it's nice to be doing all my work at home (aka in pajamas) as opposed to somewhere else.  And we're getting a bit of a fall weather preview this weekend.  It's so beautiful!  I wish the heat wave weren't coming back tomorrow.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's still summertime, though.  Fall doesn't officially get here until September 22nd.  The good thing is that the next few weeks give us time to prepare for fall and get into the spirit of Halloween and pumpkins and crisp leaves and squirrels.  And plaid, of course.   Even for girls like us at Moth Bird who won't have any time or money to spend on closet updates, it's fun to think about fall trends.  (Escapism, anyone?)
But speaking of fashion, there's a more pressing clothing matter at hand that I wanted to share: the fast fashion crisis.
Copyright Tim Mitchell
I just read a Newsweek article about "fast fashion" and its effects on the environment, and I was horrified to learn about how our clothing habits are hurting the planet.  Having fun with fashion is awesome, but loving our Earth is also awesome, and this article is a real wake-up call when it comes to making sustainable choices.
"When natural fibers, like cotton, linen and silk, or semi-synthetic fibers created from plant-based cellulose, like rayon, Tencel and modal, are buried in a landfill, in one sense they act like food waste, producing the potent greenhouse gas methane as they degrade. But unlike banana peels, you can’t compost old clothes, even if they're made of natural materials."
What's particularly disturbing is that 84% of "unwanted clothes" in the U.S. ended up going to landfills and incinerators in 2012, and Americans throw out about 14 million tons of clothing every year. That's crazy!  Another unfortunate reality is that a lot of clothing that gets donated may end up getting thrown out due to being very poor quality. It's an environmental and fashion crisis, and though we can all do our part to help make it better (buying secondhand, buying well-made clothing, sewing your own clothes, donating as opposed to tossing, etc.), we need a long-term solution.  One possibility is a closed-loop clothing industry, sort of mimicking how closed-loop systems work in nature.  (Remember all those thermodynamics laws?  Matter is neither created nor destroyed?  Energy of a system remains constant?)
Marie-Claire Daveu of Vogue: "The holy grail for sustainability in fashion is closed-loop sourcing.”
According to the article, closed-loop tech in the fashion industry would mean no clothes in landfills because old clothes would "be endlessly looped through textile factories, garment factories, stores, your closet, secondhand retailers, textile recyclers and back to textile factories again." Sadly, this sort of system is a while in the future, but it's a light of hope in an otherwise pretty glum situation.
 <3 Frances

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