I started my career in apparel product development. Through that experience, I gained an understanding of the vast amount of natural and human resources needed to produce products. Clothing has a very complicated supply chain that is often difficult to track.
Fiber can be grown or produced in one country. Then, could be sent to a spinner in another country to make yarn. The spinner then sells the yarn to mills that weave or knit the yarn into fabric. The fabric is then shipped to a sewing facility (possibly in another country) where garments are cut and sewn. The final product is shipped to the U.S. via boat or airfreight. A T-shirt may be simple, but the farming, spinning, labeling, weaving, and sewing could all be done by various suppliers in completely different countries.
All this knowledge made me realize how my clothing consumption impacts the Earth. I try not to fall victim to fast fashion and then end up tossing it at the end of season. Instead I try to make a conscious effort to buy things that I truly love and intend on wearing for years. I do not need a closet jam-packed with clothes. I buy fewer, quality items that are wardrobe investments and enhancements. I’ve found that these pieces are worn more often. Plus, I am less willing to part with something that I spent a little more money on.
If you would like to learn more about the fashion supply chain, these are very eye-opening and worth taking a look at.
- The True Cost of Fashion https://truecostmovie.com/
- Designer brand Vetements and their view on consumption http://www.vogue.co.uk/article/vetements-harrods-installation
It's not all doom and gloom. Here are a few brands that are trying to make a difference.
Honey Rose & K
Ohio based jewelry designer that repurposes vintage jewelry and materials into new pieces
Did you know that it take 1,000 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans? Levi’s water<less program goal is to reduce 88% of the water used in jean production by 2020. Below is one of their water<less styles. http://www.levi.com/US/en_US/womens-jeans/p/196310001
Always known for her sustainable Lux fashions, especially leather-free handbags.
Adidas has put a sustainability system in place to help them meet their environmental targets.
Adidas Superstar was introduced in 1969. Recently featured at MoMA’ s exhibit Items: Is fashion modern as part of the 111 culturally relevant fashion items. I have a pair I wear all of the time!
Madewell or J.Crew
You can recycle your old jeans at Madewell or J. Crew and they will give you a discount on a new pair. Your old jeans will be used for insulation. Check out the progress made so far.
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