As consumers we spend more than $1 trillion a year on clothing and textiles most of that money is spent in Western Europe and North America and about a quarter spend in Asia.
Next time you are shopping you should ask yourself why that pair of jeans is only $39 dollars. Sounds like a bargain doesn’t it? However, cheap clothing that is not meant to last is a growing source of carbon emissions on the plant. As we all now know global warming is a very real problem.
According to Planet Green the average American throws out about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles each year. While cotton, lasts longer than your average polyester shirt, it takes about a 1/3 of a pound of chemicals to grow enough cotton for one t-shirt. Most of those chemicals, by the way, are known human carcinogens.
All of this leaves consumers in quandry; to buy or not to buy that cute (but cheap dress) at F21? There are ways to shop smart, and live green;
- Cut down on the amount of throw away fashion we buy each season;
- Wash in cold water
- Try not to buy clothes that need dry cleaning, Perchloroethylene is the main chemical used used in dry cleaning and it is a known chemical with both human health and environmental concerns.
Remember that throwaway fashion comes with a price, and that most of the world lives in slums. Today there are over 2.5 million garment workers in Bangladesh, 75% are women and children. Factories for world renowned brands pay their workers less then ten dollars for a six day work week and knowingly employ children.
There are ways to make your clothes last longer, even throwaway fashion, recycle, refashion that man’s shirt into a cute dress a la Carly Cais over at Chic Steals. Carly has her own clothing and jewelry line that uses recycled rubber for edgy bracelets and check out her DIY archive on her blog. Work with what you’ve got is a great website for inspiration on how well work with what you have got! Don’t forgot last year’s fabulous Uniform Project, one dress, 365 days and a lot of donated accessories! Last but not least Love Maegan is always a source of inspiration and she regularly has great DIY’s on her site, while always looking fabulous.
The one thing that all of these ladies have in common is a way of thinking outside of the box, why spend dollars on shoes that you will wear for one season when you can create your own DIY look alike. I love all of their blogs and check back regularly for inspiration in much the same way I did when I used to look for inspiration in fashion magazines.