If you can manufacture or buy clothes for cheap, who do you think is paying the price?
Having been a part of the fashion ecosystem for over a decade, we have witnessed the damage the fashion industry can have on the planet and the exploitation that comes with the making, trading and promoting of clothes.
This may seem like a shock to you but most fashion brands themselves don't even know (or don't want to know) exactly where the materials they use are sourced from and how their clothes are made. A lot of consumers buy into a brand and wear clothes without ever thinking of the labour that has gone into it.
In this global boiling era, often times we see that the countries and the people which least participate in consumerism have been the first to experience the consequences of our actions. Why are we ok with that?
It's time for us all to come together, make a commitment to do our part in reducing consumption and become more ethical in how we produce, promote and trade clothes. What do you pledge to do differently starting from now?
“I pledge to campaign for more ethical practices in the fashion industry, encouraging brands, governments and investors to embed sustainability in their systems, policies and messaging."
"I pledge to repair and upcycle old clothes before considering to buy new ones and when I do buy it'll be from independent brands or even rented."
“I pledge to only buy up to 5 new items of clothing per year. I will continue to rent, repair and make my own clothes with deadstock fabric and natural or recycled materials."
“I pledge to follow a made-to-order model for my fashion brand, educate customers and challenge manufacturers who request high MOQs.”
Why do we all need to make a sustainable fashion pledge?
Would you pay £189 for a 15ml bottle of drinking water?
Would you pay £719 for salmon?
Would you pay £6499 for a regular unbranded cotton t-shirt?
Well, if we don’t change our consumption habits, these prices, which may seem absurd, will become our reality.
Climate change could be irreversible by 2030, that’s less than 7 years from now and as one of the most polluting industries in the world, the fashion industry is in urgent need of revaluation.
Aside from synthetic fibres which are mostly toxic and non-biodegradable, the materials your clothes are made from are sourced directly from the earth, using its natural resources at a startling rate. As demand continues to grow (you do not need a new outfit for every event), it places immense strain on our planet's ecosystems. Soon, we will have to decide whether these resources and land space should be used for food or for fashion. Which will you choose?
The 2nd of August 2023 is Earth Overshoot Day, which marks the point in the year when humanity has extracted more from the Earth than it can regenerate. This overshooting leads to a depletion of natural resources, disruption of ecosystems, and contributes to climate change. It's a clear sign that we cannot continue with business as usual.
The climate crisis is rapidly evolving, and the time to act is now. The fashion industry alone is responsible for about 10% of global carbon emissions, surpassing the combined emissions of international flights and shipping. Beyond carbon emissions, fashion production is incredibly water intensive. It takes around 2,700 litres of water to produce just one cotton t-shirt, equivalent to what one person drinks in 2.5 years! This excessive water consumption exacerbates the global water crisis and puts tremendous pressure on water resources, hence why we could be paying £189 for a 15ml bottle in the next few years.
Fashion production involves the use of harmful chemicals that pollute waterways and harm ecosystems. The toxic chemicals used in dyeing fabrics and finishing garments are not only detrimental to the environment but also endanger the health and well-being of the workers in the supply chain (the people who make our clothes but never get to wear them). Fashion should not cost us our health, human-rights and the environment. Since consumerism became the norm and fast fashion rose to prominence, this industry has gotten away with murder…literally.
Climate change is causing more frequent, severe weather catastrophes, impacting vulnerable communities worldwide. From recent wildfires in European countries, to cold summers, flooding, sea life depletion and famine in different places around the world…are we in trouble? Yes, yes we are.
As individuals, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the fashion industry's impact, but our actions matter. Each sustainable choice we make has a positive ripple effect on the environment and inspires others to do the same. By choosing quality over quantity and investing in timeless pieces, we can create a sustainable wardrobe that lasts longer and reduces the demand for constant new fashion items.
The fashion industry's impact on the environment and society is undeniable. It's time to rethink our consumption habits and support the sustainable fashion movement. Let's advocate for a fashion industry that values people and the planet over profit. By pledging to make sustainable choices, we can play a crucial role in creating a more sustainable and resilient world for ourselves and future generations.
Together, let's take action and make a difference.
Giovanna Vieira and Misi Ogunlana
Co-founders of THE FASHION BLUEPRINT