Fast fashion is drowning the planet and consumers need to make the ultimate change.
Did you know that it takes approximately 2,000 gallons of water to make a single pair of your favourite jeans? Mass market fashion brands are the biggest culprit with throwaway trends, and this has led to the fashion industry contributing to 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions. However, consumers are the second biggest culprit, throwing away an average of 70 pounds of clothes every year, all of which can be recycled. Ultimately, the change is in our hands and what we decide to put in them.
If we are asked how much water we consume daily, we often refer to our recommended eight glasses of drinking water or the water we use to have a shower or wash up the dishes, but never do we consider all the water used to manufacture our clothes. Stephen Leahy, the author of “Your Water Footprint: The shocking facts about how much water we use to make everyday products”, proclaims some shocking truths – “The average American’s daily water footprint is a whopping 2,115 gallons (8,000 litres). Since 1 litre weighs 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds), that’s the weight of four cars you have to haul if you get all that water from a well”.
2017’s edition of the “Pulse of the Fashion industry” by Global Fashion Agendarevealed that in 2015, the industry consumed a staggering 79 billion cubic metres of water, a figure expected to increase by 50% in 2030. One of the reasons producing seemingly simple garments greatly depletes our global water reserves is that most of these pieces are made from cotton – a famously thirsty crop. Pile on the fact that much of it is cultivated in parts of the world suffering from water stress and we have a serious problem.
The rabbit hole of sustainability and inciting meaningful, powerful change to production and consumerist habits is not one easily grappled with. Yet, one thing is clear, as individuals, we must make substantial daily changes to ensure the preservation of our water resources, such as taking shorter showers, turning the water off when not in use, but also, purchasing items for long term use. The future of this planet does not lie solely in our hands, fashion houses have to take responsibility for the part they play in the depletion of our environment and take measures to try and protect it. A way this can be done is by using more eco-friendly or recyclable materials in their production practices.
At Joesph & Alexander, we have a deep profound love and respect for the ocean, that is why we have decided to use fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles found in the ocean and transform them into quirky, enviromentally-inspired short designs. Conceptualised to ignite curiosity within the minds of its youngest wearers, each piece is designed to spark an “educational conversation” around critical world issues. championing environmental action is at the heart of the brand. Operating consciously using recycled fabric from ocean plastics, eco-friendly ink, and reusable packaging, each collection depicts awareness-raising narratives of minimising our environmental footprint and having fun whilst doing so.