Lisa Murray for CRS

The Price of Fashion on Our Planet and 3 Ways You Can Help

CRS Staff

The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world.From chemical dyes to textile waste, we are rapidly destroying the environment with our clothes.

It is estimated that the United States alone sends more than 16 million tons of textiles to the landfill every year.2 As consumers, it is up to us to change what kind of clothes we buy—choosing more sustainable textiles, and how we consume—shopping less and second hand.

Make a commitment to change your shopping habits and take these actions today to care for creation.

Advocate

Fashion is contributing to climate change and the impact is felt around the world, especially among the poor and vulnerable. When you advocate for those directly impacted by climate change—our brothers and sisters experiencing loss of crops or prolonged drought—you help to make their voices and stories heard.

It takes 20 to 200 years for synthetic clothing to biodegrade. Natural fibers like cotton, bamboo and linen biodegrade within weeks or months.3

Protect Our Common Home

Donate

As fast fashion became the norm for American consumers, one element of the fashion industry slowly faded—custom, tailored clothing. Tailored clothing is an important aspect to sustainable fashion because tailored pieces are durable—made from high quality material—and often last longer. We also wear these pieces more because we pay to have them altered to our specifications. When you purchase a sewing machine for tailoring, you provide vocational training and support sustainable fashion.

Saratu Sule runs a tailoring business near her home in Huda village, Nigeria. 

Purchase a Sewing Machine for an Entrepreneur

Shop

Before you purchase something new, consider whether or not you need it and ask yourself these questions. If you decide you do need it, try to find a sustainable version. The items featured here are made from a variety of sustainable materials including organic cotton, recycled water bottles, up-cycled brass and alpaca wool.

 

1- Knit Poncho Sweater $88.98 Serrv | 2-Small Brass Hoop Earrings $28 Nisolo | 3- Tiny Brass Bead Necklace $28 Nisolo | 4- Wire Cuff Bracelet $38 Nisolo | 5- Black Solid – The Flat* $125 Rothy’s | 6- Pink Gogo Scarf $28 Serrv | 7- Bella Dress Fuchsia $59.99 Mata Traders

 

 

1- World’s Most Polluting Industries, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-top-10-polluting-industries-in-the-world.html

2- EPA, https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/textiles-material-specific-data

3-Edge, https://edgexpo.com/2017/09/05/edge-fast-fact-non-biodegradable-clothes-take-20-to-200-years-to-biodegrade/

*Rothy’s shoes are made from recycled water bottles. Although they have not been through our vetting process, they are included in the shopping guide as a sustainable shoe option.