It’s only natural that, when you’re browsing the racks to find that latest killer outfit, you probably don’t pause to consider the story behind the clothes in the store. Where did that dress come from? Who produced it? How was it manufactured?
But dig a little deeper and you will discover some pretty eye-opening facts about fashion. So much so that they might make you re-think your shopping choices altogether.
Here are 5 of the most surprising facts that I have found out about the clothes we wear:
1. Fashion is fuelling modern slavery
Slave labor affects around 40 million people globally — with over 70% of those are women or girls. And a study by the Walk Free Foundation found that fashion was the second biggest modern slavery industry. But it’s not all bad news as thankfully, some brands are leading the way in taking action. For instance, ASOS has developed its own training program for modern slavery, which is why it’s worth putting your purchasing power behind these change-making brands.
2. We totally waste our clothes
In fact, most people only wear around a third of them. So that means that two thirds of your closet real estate is probably taken up with stuff that you no longer want — like that out-of-style dress, those jeans that never really fit you, or that sweater that just doesn’t flatter you skin tone.
So maybe it’s time to make more mindful choices when fashion shopping — for instance, only buying clothes that you genuinely love or that are truly flattering. And remember, a bargain is only a bargain if you will wear it.
3. Fashion is a major polluter
It’s actually the 3rd highest cause of pollution in the world, partly due to the amount of landfill waste that unwanted clothing creates. That’s why it’s crucial for us all to help reduce this wastage on an individual level. For instance, why not give your unwanted outfits away to charity stores? Or have clothes swap parties with your friends? Or even make some extra cash by selling your old threads on eBay? Remember — one fashionista’s junk is another one’s gem.
4. Clothes contain tons of chemical goop
In fact, an average item of clothing can have up to 2,000 different chemicals hidden inside its fabric. Unbelievable, right? And that can’t be great for either your health or the environment. So that’s why it’s important to add organic items to your wardrobe. For instance, when shopping, look out for fabrics like ramie, wool or jute, plus check labels carefully.
5. Cotton isn’t so innocent
Cotton is a very popular clothing material. However, its production process can be bad for developing countries, as a high volume of pesticides and water are needed to make it. I’m not saying never buy anything with cotton on the label (it can also be a good organic fabric choice), but aim to buy other types of fabric too.
I hope that you’ve found these five fashion facts as interesting as I did. Let’s all work together to make more ethical shopping choices, recycle our old clothing and just be more label-aware in general. That’s the only way we can make a true change.