I’m sure you all have heard the expression: Fast Fashion, but do you know how fast is it?
Well, to give you an example Zara delivers new products twice each week to its stores around the world. This adds up to more than 10,000 new designs each year! It is shocking, because it takes the company only 10 to 15 days to go from the design stage to the sales floor. It is a well automated production system which uses the ‘just in time’ inventory approach and builds on the fast-changing tastes of its customers.
And the reason for our dislike comes from these last few words: fast-changing tastes of customers. So if the customers’ taste changes so rapidly, what is the life-time of a dress? How long will they wear the dress they have bought? Maybe 1 season, but not more.
It takes 2700 litres of water and about 100-150 grams of chemicals to create a cotton t-shirt, with 20% of global industrial water used for dyeing textiles. The bulk of mass manufactured clothing are created from synthetic fibres (many with hazardous chemicals on them) that are cheaply made and sold. The average American sends 30 kg of textiles to landfill every year and because they’re petroleum based synthetic fibres, they aren’t great for decomposing. The residual chemicals on clothing include lead, pesticides, insecticides and flame-retardants and other known carcinogens, which dwell on our largest organ, the skin.
You might think that the cloths you take to charities go to the ones who cannot afford it. However that is not true anymore. About 80-95% of cloths end up on landfills, depending on the country in question. Europe used to take last-season clothing to Africa and Asia, but they do not want used cloths anymore, not to mention that their living conditions have improved in the last 10 years, so most of them can afford new cheap clothing.
At Sharolta we try to reduce the amount of cloths on the landfills and waste incinerators by upcycling old jeans to something new and fashionable. One way to be more environmentally conscious is buying less and buying upcycled.