The Environmental Cost of Fashion

The Environmental Cost of Fashion

The fashion industry represents a big part of our current economy. It is valued at over 2.5 trillion $ USD and employing 75 million people all around the globe. As the population grows, fashion also evolves and grows. For example, clothing manufacturing is doubled between 200 and 2014 while %60 more garments are created.

This economical growth also raised some attention over the negative environmental impacts that the industry is responsible. Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year (UNECE, 2018), and washing some types of clothes sends a significant amount of microplastics into the ocean.

Some Headlines Regarding the Impact of Fashion Industry Over Environment

  • The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second (UNEP, 2018)
  • Approximately 60% of all materials used by the fashion industry are made from plastic (UNEP, 2019)
  • 500,000 tons of microfibers are released into the ocean each year from washing clothes — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)
  • The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of humanity’s carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined (UNEP, 2018). If the fashion sector continues on its current trajectory, that share of the carbon budget could jump to 26% by 2050 (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)
  • Some 93 billion cubic meters of water – enough to meet the needs of five million people – is used by the fashion industry annually, contributing significantly to water scarcity in some regions (UNCTAD, 2020)
  • Around 20% of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide originates from the fashion industry (WRI, 2017)

As Vesper, we strongly believe that this impact can be reduced with a slow fashion business model. That is why we only create our clothes after it is sold and create them from so-called fashion waste. According to us, there is no fashion waste but an opportunity to repurpose these unused fabrics and create an opportunity to reduce fashion waste.