What you buy will change your future
Among the worlds ten most polluting industries you find tanneries, the dye industry and product manufacturing. These three are all within the fashion industry, which makes it one of the major polluting industries in the world. It is said that fashion is responsible for 10 percent of the carbon footprint of the world as well as being the second greatest polluter of local freshwater.
Since the 60ies the amount of garments bought by every person in the western world has tripled and this rapid production change has off course led to a rapid pollution. Every year the world as a whole consumes more than 80 billion items of clothing. That is a crazy amount of garments when we are only 7.7 billion people living on this planet! The consumption increases while the buyers at the same time want all products for cheaper prices. We’re stuck in what is called fast fashion, a mass production to meet the needs of design, trends and clients. The main concern with fast fashion is the production processes, pollution and the massive amount of waste it produces. Most of these garments will be thrown away within a short period of time.
Over the last decade people have tried to shine some light on this still growing problem but most of us don’t want to see. There have been multiple documentaries, one of them The True Cost, which shows in a clear way how this industry is damaging us all. There are also many websites, often national initiatives, that try to spread information about the fashion process. Still, the main problem is that the biggest actors in the industry, the ones that could make some change, don’t want to. Their profit is too colossal to be questioned and changed.
The power is therefor in our hands, us consumers. We need to spend more time reading about and understanding what it is we contribute to. We need to gain knowledge about sustainable brands but also understand more about trends and how we function in a social way using our clothes as stories. Because in the end that is the main problem. We think that what we wear defines us, shows others who we are. The latest straight cropped jeans will communicate that you are on top of things. A beige knitted polo is more correct this autumn than the black one you have in your wardrobe and could communicate you are following French magazines. But these stories will have to be told in new ways.
We will need to work on verbal communication to tell our stories. Talk, laugh, interact and spend time with people that you like. Use your wardrobe but match it in completely new ways that feels “wrong” to you but might be fun and inspiring to others. Be proud of who you are and walk out of your home every morning, head high. Eat well. Sleep well. Move. Exercise. Be Kind. Be fun. Enjoy. THESE are the stories worth telling and communicating.
We will need to work on verbal communication to tell our stories.
But of course we need clothes, to cover up and warm us. So below is a list of the items you actually do need. All of them should be bought carefully and from sustainable brands with high quality. Don’t let the prices stop you. If you can’t afford it, save money for a few months or years and then buy. On top of this list you add more personal sustainable outerwear, shoes and accessories that you have carefully curated and all should be items that you love.
I hope that this list can help you try to re-work how you take care of you story, your personal communication and your wardrobe.