Sustainability has become somewhat the buzzword these days.

And it’s starting to be used in areas that we all might not necessarily think about — fashion, for instance.

Five things you need to know:

  1. The Fashion industry is massive. It employs over 75 million people and is valued at around $2.5 trillion. Designer labels always seem to be able to make big fashion statements, but the biggest one yet may well be how and where your clothes are made. And that’s important because according to a division of the U.N., the fashion world produces about 20% of global waste water and around 10% of global carbon emissions.
  2. So how can fashion become more sustainable? By creating clothing in such a way that it doesn’t harm our planet. This includes reducing the amount of energy and emissions in the creation of man-made synthetic fabrics; using less chemicals generally, cutting down on contaminated water creation, plastic use and disposal; and making sure that the workers making the clothes aren’t being exploited or abused, but rather treated and paid fairly.
  3. Over the last few decades, there have been massive increases in the number of fast fashion retailers that replicate catwalk trends and mass produce them at super low cost, both online and in your shopping mall. Some studies have found that as much as around 50% of this fast fashion being sold was made of plastics.
  4. "Fast fashion” is all basically just to ensure the customer gets increasingly lower prices — only to throw it away when a new trend appears in less than a few months. According to the EPA, 11.3 million tons of discarded clothing were sent to landfill sites in 2018.
  5. But all that may be starting to change little by little as the fashion industry starts to come under increasing environmental focus with a recent survey of teenagers — the age group that drives fashion industry trends — saying over 80% believe sustainable fashion is a good idea, but under half not knowing where to find it.

So the market is there, and a large number of the fast fashion houses are now making promises to sustainably source their clothing materials — some by up to 100% by 2030. It just goes to show that sometimes wanting to wear something that looks cool could one day soon be helping our planet cool down too instead of possibly heating it up.