Well, Earth day is here making it the perfect time to talk about sustainable fashion. With the rapid growth of technological fabrics and the wearable technology still being developed, it is no wonder we nod our heads to synthetic fabrics, as it could not be done without them. Synthetic fabrics have advanced us to great things such as flame retardant jackets for firefighters, wet suits for deep-sea divers and of course haz-mat uniforms. With the help of these textiles we have had the ability to make more discoveries and do more rigorous research. However, we could not have gotten to synthetic fibers without the help from their ancestors, the natural fibers. Other than cotton, I think many people tend to forget some of the great things natural fibers offer. First and foremost, natural fiber clothing, such as cotton, wool, silk, hemp, jute, and linen, hold up longer and keep their shape longer with less pilling. We can go back and forth and name all the great things about natural fibers but with fast fashion being a huge part of our world today most of the light is on synthetic fabrics and I think it is a topic we should be talking about more and educating more people on. There is nothing pretty about fast fashion let I be the one to stop you right here and assure you. Fast fashion is so ugly that it is the second most polluting industry in the world only being beat out by the oil industry. There are no longer four seasons in a year ladies and gentleman. Now there are fifty-two micro-seasons and these seasons are designed to make you feel out of trend, and always wanting something more.
Although polyester and other synthetic fabrics have done great things for our lives, fast fashion has made the negatives outweigh the positives. Let me start off by saying, synthetic fabrics are not biodegradable. So every time you think you are just simply throwing away a shirt with a hole in the sleeve in the trash bin, I would like you to consider that, that is not harmless on our ecosystem. More than 70 billion barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year (Edwards, August 29, 2016). If you look through your closet it is likely that more than 70% of your closet is made or is a blend of polyester. It is cheap and it is versatile. Nylon alone creates nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that is 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In production, polyester uses huge amounts of water, chlorine and lubricants, which are a direct source of contamination. These processes to make synthetic clothing are also very energy-hungry (Green Choices).
Another thing many people do not consider is once they have the garment that they think they will love and cherish forever, they are harming the environment in the washing process. Synthetic garments are by far the biggest source of micro plastic pollution in the oceans and that happens out of the result of the 1900 fibers that can be washed off of a single garments every single time it is washed (Edwards, August 29, 2016).
So let’s talk about some ethical companies, because they are out there! First there is Everlane. Everlane does not over charge people like many retailers in fast fashion do with their cheap clothing. They give honest prices. With a very J. Crew look, this company is doing very ethical things. They have traveled and looked at factories to find ones that are not contributing to the problems with fast fashion. Another great thing? They use many natural fabrics!
Of course I had to mention Patagonia! This company is doing everything in their power to create great products while creating minimal damage to our earth. This one is a little more popular. They recycle polyester and only use organic cotton because regular cotton uses more pesticides than any other crop, accounting for 10% of worldwide pesticide use. Anything you buy from this company has a lifetime warranty. Any holes? Just send it to them and they will restore it!
Last but not least, Pact Apparel. This American company is great for organic cotton. They sell yoga pants, and many minimalistic favorites. With this company you will not get all the fast trends you will with fast fashion companies like Forever21. Instead, you will get essentials. Everything is functional.
I know it is hard to not give into the temptations of fast fashion but there is no reward factor. By trying to keep up all the time you will waste a lot of money and you will not be happy. Reduce your closet, question if what you are going to buy will actually make you happy and have a function in your closet and of course organize your shopping life. Happy Earth Day!