Photo by Salt Water New England

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fast Company: It’s time to regulate fashion the way we regulate the oil industry


When buying clothes, smart people often apply less-than-smart criteria, and conscientious people often make less-than-conscientious decisions.  And even small clothing companies today can sell shirts and belts (perhaps adorned with US Flags) that were made by the same global supply chain championed by L.L. Bean, Patagonia, and Walmart.

Perhaps this gap will close.  Consider this article that "N from VA" kindly sent:
Some quotes:
[T]he scale of the industry’s environmental footprint is a relatively new problem.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that textile manufacturing consumes 98 million tons of nonrenewable resources—from oil that goes into synthetics fibers to fertilizers to grow cotton, and 93 billion cubic meters of water annually. And the International Energy Agency estimates that the textile industry also generated 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping trips combined. This is just scratching the surface of the problem. 
It’s easy to think of fashion as frivolous. But the truth is, it’s an industry that is actively destroying the Earth. 

17 comments:

  1. I have been reading about how "fast fashion" harms the environment, but I didn't realize the magnitude of the problem. Thank you for posting this, Muffy.

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  2. A government minister of fashion. that says it all.

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    1. Such a post would present plenty of opportunities for lobbyists to exploit, e.g. getting competitors' products banned because they are made in X country rather than Y country or the US.

      Perhaps such a Minister of Fashion would ban imports or raise tariffs on foreign cloths to protect American manufacturers, e.g. Scottish Shetland wool, Yorkshire tweed, British waxed cotton, Indian madras cotton and Irish and Italian linen.

      Of course, this happens already. Take a look at the European Union's external tariffs on foreign (including American) clothing imports or Donald Trump's tariffs on European clothing (including Savile Row suits).

      In the end, it's always the customer who loses via higher prices whilst the government wins by getting more tax (tariff) revenues.

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    2. I am not sure France is the best model to emulate. The apparel industry has global sourcing. I don't think a fashion czar could possibly monitor the environmental impact of all of the various inputs that go into the production of all the garments produced globally. Best to self regulate - if you don't need it, don't buy it. By the way,if it isn't obvious to everyone, Fast Company leans to the left.

      JRC

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  3. Now, when my wife gives me a hard time about wearing clothing that is 10, 20 or 30 years old (and still in good shape), I can tell her that I am being "green."

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  4. Fantastic point! This topic should be more present in the climate change conversations!

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    1. overproduction of trash is connected to pollution rather. Climate will change anyway, we really can't stop it. We can stop (or limit rather) polluting the Earth.

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  5. Does anyone care about the workers in fast fashion who need their jobs to survive? Or those who earn low wages and can't afford expensive clothes? Are they to live in poverty to satisfy the consciences of the rich elites and the establishment who lecture us on "climate change" whilst travelling the globe in private jets and limos?

    Like the hilarious Ricky Gervais, I'm fed up with the sanctimonious preaching of the likes of Al Gore, Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hanks, Elton John, Bono and Britain's spoilt, woke Princes. I'll take them more seriously when they fly economy class and drive themselves around in electric Kias. We need more courageous voices, like Laurence Fox, to call them out.

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  6. Which is more moral then, faux fur or real? Or no fur? Even if inherited?

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  7. Well, so many people around the world need their jobs to survive...Americans and Europeans too. The "workers in fast fashion", before they started to work hard for the private jets that you mentioned were somehow living. Working on agriculture, trading between themselves, this was their life. Westerners, constantly thinking of stupidities like a new, trashy dress every 10 days and demand for it, ruined their life. Don't listen to the jerks like Leonardo Di Caprio. What can the Peter Pan tell about real life?...sorry for mistakes, I am (obviously) not an English native.

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    1. Workers in "fast fashion" countries (such as Bangladesh) often have a choice of a job or extreme poverty. Not everyone can work in agriculture, especially when the likes of the US and the European Union apply protectionist tariffs. Asian and African countries often suffer the most.

      Btw, one of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's global partners is the H&M, Group. It is a massive global "fast fashion" company. It sells cheap clothing but others can determine whether or not the dresses are "trashy". Interestingly, there is no mention of the EMF on its website. Only UNICEF and Red Cross are named as its UK charity partners.

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  8. As of Jan. 31, Nordstrom is now selling used clothing in their " See You Tomorrow" store. They are partnering with Yerdle to source clothing and they will also sell their own returned or overstock inventory.

    Apparently, the recommerce clothing industry increased to 28 billion in 2019. I'm not surprised as there are very few if any quality clothing items left on Ebay or Etsy anymore. I think consumers are realizing that new isn't always better.

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  9. It wouldn't be fashion you would be regulating but rather production and consumption. Anyway, how many of you would like someone telling you what to buy and what to wear, other than Miss Muffy, of course.

    Does Robin Givhan know about this?

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