10 Things You Should Know About Your Clothes

You (and I) love fashion. Why else would you be reading this? Which is why, WEAR, the World Ethical Apparel Roundtable, held over two days in Toronto was so mind blowing. Founded by Fashion Takes Action which aims to educate the fashion manufacturer and consumer alike with the sobering reality of our current textile situation. North Americans consume more than four times the clothing they consumed in 1980, which has transformed the fashion industry into one of the world’s largest polluters. So over two days, more than 40 speakers shared best practices on Fashion Transparency, Ethical Sourcing, Innovative Textiles, Textile Waste & Recycling and more. And while it might be daunting to have these talks, it was good to hear from various people that yes, we can turn this fashion ship around, and we can still look good doing it.

1. Each year over 80 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide, and three out of four garments will end up in landfills or be incinerated. Source: Greenpeace

2. North Americans consume more than four times the clothing they consumed in 1980. Source: Value Village

3. It can take 2,700 liters of water to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt. Source: WWF

4. One load of washing uses 40 gallons of water. One load of drying uses 5 times more energy than washing. In fact, skipping the ironing and drying of your t-shirt, saves a third of its carbon footprint. Source: WWF

5. Canadians admit they still throw away over three trash bags of unwanted clothing a year. Source: Value Village

6. In landfill, the decomposing clothing releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Source: Fashion Revolution

7. Worn or torn, all dry clothing, shoes and textiles can be donated or recycled. Source: Council for Textile Recycling

8. 80% of garment workers are women. Source: Fashion Revolution Assets

9. Child and forced labour exists in 9 countries producing 65% of the world’s cotton. Source: Responsible Sourcing Network

10. Designers are looking at ways to reduce their impact. Green Eileen is an offshoot of Eileen Fisher that sells gently worn Eileen Fisher clothing. This recycled clothing program reduces the brand’s environmental impact while generating income to support programs that improve the lives of women and girls. Source: Green Eileen

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