Sunday, September 19, 2010

Climate Change and the Future of Fashion

We love the fantasy and beauty of fashion, a love that borderlines on being a helpless addiction for some and why shouldn't it? It's art and nearly the ultimate expression of the beauty and love of life itself. But what many of us dedicated fashionista's, stylists and fashion designers may not know is that fashion is one of our biggest sources of pollution.

As much as I hate to admit to it it's true, but the reality is taht if we love our planet as well as our fashion we need to look at how fashion pollutes so we can stop it and help save both our planet and our continuous creation of fashion.

How does fashion pollute? What are the factors we need to put an end to?

Take a look...

natural fibers (example: cotton and flax)

Pollution caused

- pesticides and fertilizers used in crop production pollute water systems and often effect the bird and bee population

- non-biodegradable bleaches, dyes and finishing chemicals used in textile production that again pollute water systems

- fossil fuels used in the production and transport of textiles and fibers

synthetic fabrics (example: polyester, acrylic, nylon, spandex)

Pollution caused

- sythetic filiments produced to create polyester, acrylic and other synthetic textiles are basically polymers, leaving us with the same pollution problems as we have with plastic production, after we've thrown our clothes away we'll have a surplus of these waste materials in the environment for 1000s of years to come

- chemical additives, dyes and finishes as well as special chemical treatments, all non-biodegradable, used in their production, polluting water systems around manufacturing facilities

- fossil fuels used in the production and transport of textiles and fibers

As with the other textiles that are in between natural and synthetic such as rayon, they also have similar pollution creation factors attached to them.

As for wool, leather and fur we've got the pollution factor of methane gas, a major green house gass associated with the production of livestock for commercial use) as well as serious animal cruelty issues we don't want when it comes to the treatment of sheep and the killing of animals for their hides.

Now this is not to say we should put fashion in the closet for good for the sake of our planet, this does mean though that we need to put an end to how we pollute throught the production of fashion.

In my next blog post we'll look at the possibilities and solutions necessary to create a new fashion industry using sustainability concepts.