Fashion sense is a mind provoking thought, giving every individual the choice to be free and creative in their own body. But what secrets do people not know about the fashion industry? And if those secrets were released, how would fashion sense change?
Fashion has always thrived on being unique through art and culture. Huge designer industries such as Dolce & Cabbana, Versace, Prada, Jason Wu, Chanel and Gucci are all big spenders. The company Dolce & Cabbana was created by two Italian designers who located their store in Milan; by 2005, the turnover was $597 million. The global women’s clothing industry is expected to exceed $621 billion in 2014. But who actually purchases these industry’s products?
Top designer brands are mostly known for selling in other countries such as France and Italy then eventually migrating to the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the EU represents more than 35 percent of global marketing.
Over 7 billion people live on earth. If each individual owned one shirt, one jacket and one pair of shoes that would be 21 billion pieces of clothing. Knowing that fact is true, think of how much vacant clothing lingers in closets. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2010 an average family house hold spends $1,700 on apparel and footwear. Consumers in the United Kingdom have a whopping amount of $30 billion unworn clothes lingering in their closets.
Fashion industries succeed in profit and customer sales; however, these sales come at a risky expense. Fashion Industries Net says that employment in apparel industries has decreased by 80 percent in the last two decades. Workers hand manufacture apparel from sewing, knitting, tailoring, creating garments for individual clients and creating textile fabrics.
In countries such as China, the United States benefits from inexpensive imports such as products and apparel. Millions of tons of unused Chinese fabric go to waste each year when dying fabrics the wrong color. One single mill in China uses 200 tons of water for each ton of fabric it dyes. Rivers run with the colors of the season as the untreated toxic dyes wash off from mills. According to the UN Commodity Trade Statistics database, China is the largest exporter of quick and easy fashion for 30 percent of world apparel exports.
Waste Couture says that only about one-fifth of the clothing donated to charities is directly used or sold in their thrift shops. There has to be some possible way to recycle million and trillions of unused clothing. The answer to lingering unused clothing is recycling. Often resale shops sell or donate their clothing to textile mills and companies.
Clothing is recycled through the Earth just as water is with 30 percent of these textiles used as absorbent wiping rags for industrial uses. According to Well Dressed, about 60 percent of the energy used in the life cycle of a cotton T-shirt’s is related to washing and drying at high temperatures. In countries such as Tanzania, clothing is sold at the mitumba markets and is the number one import from the United States.
The fashion industry is the most wasteful and selfish manufacturing company out there. However, clothing is produced, bought and recycled every day, and is one of the most important assets of daily life. If people choose to change fashion sense, this could transform the amount of stress, money, space and carbon foot print in billions of people’s lives. But if people didn’t look at clothing just as a closet but as a recycle bin, could it impact the world?
By Tanisha Jaynes