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Why does sustainable fashion matter? 7 facts about the fashion industry that you may not know

The journey towards having a more sustainable wardrobe can be different for everyone depending on the person. For some, it could be a sudden change in your habit; and for another, a gradual change in behavior over time. How was it for you?


What has sparked my passion and continued my commitment towards curating a sustainable wardrobe was learning the facts about this industry that I previously had no clue about.


So today I’m rounding up 7 surprising facts about the fashion industry. I’d be interested to hear if any of these are unexpected for you…


  1. The fashion industry is responsible for 8% of carbon emissions. That’s more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. At the current pace, the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50 % by 2030.

  2. Fast fashion retailers release new low-cost designs weekly, which drives the pace of consumption...and also the pace in which we discard our clothes. The average American throws away around 81 pounds of clothing yearly. Textiles in American landfills jumped 67.7% from 2000 to 2015.

  3. Less than 1% of used clothing is recycled into new garments. Part of the challenge of using old clothes to make new ones is that most clothing contains a blend of materials, like cotton and polyester, which are difficult to separate.

  4. 63% of textile fibers are derived from petrochemicals and 51% are polyester. When was the last time you checked the fiber composition on the tags before you shopped for an item (either new or secondhand)?

  5. Washing clothes made from synthetic materials (such as polyester) releases half a million ton of microfibers into the ocean each year — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. The danger? Microfibers cannot be extracted from water and they can spread throughout the food chain.

  6. Around 70 million barrels of oil a year is used to make polyester fibers in our clothes. A polyester shirt produces the equivalent of 5.5kg of carbon dioxide compared to 2.1kg from a cotton shirt.

  7. 60% of consumers are interested in sustainable clothing but only 37% said that they have actually purchased them.


Knowing all of these facts, it is apparent that to make the fashion industry more sustainable, all parties must come together to create the change: designers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.



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