The Polluting Truth behind Fashion

Last week was Earth Week, a time where we all got to reflect on how green we really are. ISKL has proven that they’re a green community by having an active and elected green council as well as an earth club open for anyone to join. But shockingly, the industry that plays one of the biggest roles in global warming and continues to be an area in which most ISKL students are not as aware of is in fact the fashion industry.

When asking 8 random students in the cafeteria whether or not they were aware of the environmental issues caused by the fashion industry, only 3 of them were informed of it. The reason for this Diane ‘19 believes is: “Well I feel like fashion is very glamorized in our society and because of that we don’t really compare it to “darker” issues, such as it playing a big role in global warming”.

You might ask yourself, “how can a piece of clothing be as harmful to the environment as opposed to something like a huge car?” To put simply, in addition to all the hazardous chemicals used in clothing, Greenpeace.org explained that one pair of jeans requires 7000 litres of water, and something as common as a t-shirt requires 2700 litres of water.

So what’s the balance? Everyone wants to be good to the environment, but we all need to wear clothes too.

It is not buying a pair of jeans and a sweater to keep warm that is the problem. But rather, it’s when we see big red signs saying “END OF SEASON; SALE” that appears as the root cause. When we find random pieces of clothing that we’re not really sure when to wear, we buy it anyway just because it’s cheap, which ultimately ends up in the back of our wardrobe unused.

There are several ways to minimize the harmful environmental effect without boycotting your favorite clothing stores. Simple things such as being mindful when shopping, always keeping in mind the phrase “do I really need this?” can make huge differences for the environment. It reduces the impulsive purchases that you’ll regret later, which is not only protecting the environment, but this will also ensure that you save extra cash.

Furthermore, recycling old clothing is very good for minimizing environmental effects since 95% of discarded clothing can be upcycled or recycled. So next time you’re thinking of throwing away that old t-shirt that doesn’t fit you anymore, think again!

Currently, our climate is changing faster than ever, so even the smallest of efforts matter. Make smart choices, and remember that you can allow further generations a chance to enjoy the earth too.