How Can Fashion Change the World?
Fashion can spread ideas and create a ‘cool’ factor. Professor Helen Storey MBE, the first woman to be awarded a knighthood, has been exploring textiles and air purification. In her catalytic dress ‘Herself’, she has incorporated a photocatalyst which breaks down airborne pollutants. In fact, the dress is able to purify air, while also generating its own power.
Impact of fashion on society
The impact of fashion on society is becoming more apparent as it interacts with various sectors. The recent Covid19 pandemic has highlighted how fashion is driving change. Fashion companies made face masks and hand sanitisers, while groups donated to local communities. It is not surprising that some fashion companies are now turning to the digital revolution to make their products more sustainable. However, some fashion trends are not only damaging to society, but also to the environment.
The fashion industry employs 75 million people, and about 80 percent of them are women between the ages of 18-24. A 2018 report by the U.S. Department of Labor found evidence of child and forced labor within the fashion industry. Short fashion cycles and rapid consumption of apparel put the strain on resources, and supply chains often place profits above human welfare. For this reason, the fashion industry must take responsibility for its impact on society. But consumers can help bring about positive change by making more conscious clothing choices.
Fashion is also a major contributor to climate change and the environment. In 2018, the fashion industry accounted for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. This industry uses 70 million barrels of oil annually and uses 65 percent of all clothing produced. It also consumes a lot of water. It is estimated that fashion production will consume over 93 billion tons of water worldwide every year, enough to feed an average American for two and a half years.
It has the potential to spread ideas – coherently and with a ‘cool’ factor. For example, Professor Helen Storey MBE led the Catalytic Clothing project, which explored textiles as a means of purifying air. In a piece called ‘Herself’, the wearer wears a photocatalyst to break down airborne pollution. With such advances in the field, it has the potential to create lasting social change.
The adoption of digital tools has transformed the fashion industry. Digital innovations have enhanced the processes that precede communication and marketing. The fourth industrial revolution has changed the ways in which the fashion industry communicates and operates. In addition to improving the efficiency of design and production processes, they also contribute to the digitalisation of fashion heritage. And this is only the beginning of the impact of fashion on society. In the next few years, the world will continue to evolve at a rapid pace.
Impact of fashion on the environment
According to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the fashion industry contributes up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and uses up to 1.5 trillion litres of water every year. The industry is also known to be a source of waste, with many garments being bought and thrown away rapidly as fashions come and go. It is difficult to tell what chemicals are used in clothing produced outside the EU, so many consumers are increasingly turning to second-hand clothing to reduce their environmental impact.
The trend of progressive obsolescence in clothing dates back to the 1920s. However, clothing was repaired, tailored to fit family members, and recycled within the household. During World War I, manufacturers reduced the sizes of clothes. They also encouraged designers to reduce the amount of material and unnecessary decoration, resulting in a ten percent reduction in trash. And now, many of today’s fashion companies are taking the lead on the environment.
The fashion industry has made significant efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and energy usage per item. Today, however, the majority of the world’s clothes are discarded. In addition, a tiny portion is recycled or resold, resulting in large quantities of waste in landfills and incineration. Fashion consumption in developed countries is so high that the cost of environmental impact is passed onto developing countries. The authors recommend that sustainable practices be introduced across the supply chain, which will reduce the environmental costs and harms of fast fashion.
Globally, the apparel industry produces 1.2 million metric tonnes of CO2 per year, making it the second biggest polluter after oil. This industry also uses enormous amounts of fossil fuel-based plastics. These pollutants are harmful to the environment and have the potential to cause major climate catastrophes. A new report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature found that the fashion industry contributes ten percent of humanity’s carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Fast fashion also poses a significant pollution problem. Despite its fast pace, clothes produced in these countries often end up releasing harmful gases and causing respiratory and health problems. The manufacture of textiles in these countries is an energy intensive process, and the wastes generated during the production process are often unrecoverable. These pollutants are also harmful to garment workers’ health. One study found that garment workers suffered from the deadly disease silicosis.
Impact of fast fashion
The production of cheap clothing is destroying the environment. Waste water, toxic chemicals, and unrecyclable textiles contribute to carbon emissions and other environmental impacts. Additionally, fast fashion reduces the quality of life of workers and residents of the countries affected by its production. Therefore, it is imperative for consumers to find alternatives to fast fashion. Let’s look at some of these alternatives and how they can help the environment. After all, we don’t all have the luxury of having expensive clothes.
The garment industry has grown exponentially thanks to the growth of fast fashion. Consumers now want new clothes after a couple of wearings. This has created entire business models based on “fast fashion” that deliver cheap, fashionable clothes in an instant. Production of clothes has doubled in the last 15 years, driven by an increased middle class population and higher per capita sales. Unfortunately, this model is not sustainable, and many of its negative effects cannot be easily reversed.
Fortunately, many people are taking steps to reduce their dependence on fast fashion. They can shop second-hand, consign unwanted clothing at thrift stores, or buy new clothes at thrift stores and online shops. In the US and UK, clothing rental stores are emerging. Mud Jeans, for instance, lets people lease organic jeans. Others are working to develop more sustainable manufacturing processes. Meanwhile, Adidas is experimenting with personalised gear, and Ralph Lauren is pledging to use sustainable and recycled materials by 2025.
While the fast fashion industry provides retailers with big profits, it is also a huge environmental concern. In addition to damaging the environment, it is also a major contributor to pollution in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Furthermore, fast fashion’s cheapness has allowed people to buy fashionable clothing more affordably. A recent documentary has shown that the impact of fast fashion is already becoming more evident. Its production is responsible for a large portion of the world’s wastewater, and it is also one of the largest contributors to global water pollution.
In addition to the environmental impact, fast fashion also contributes to other human rights issues. Workers in garment factories often endure long hours with low wages and unsafe working conditions. The Rana Plaza disaster is just one example of this. In addition to these, fast fashion is responsible for large scale land degradation and air pollution. The fast fashion industry has no environmental safeguards in the global south. Many people in these countries are employed in these factories and face a difficult life.
Impact of wearable tech
The impact of wearable technology on fashion is not only limited to sports and fitness. Smart clothing can be worn by consumers to track a variety of physiological metrics. Consumers have a need for status and belonging and this can be fulfilled by wearing wearable technology. In fact, it’s estimated that consumers will wear at least one smart device by the end of 2021. According to IDC, sales of wearable tech devices will reach a staggering 125.5 million units by 2017.
Smart clothes have been around for some time, but they are not yet as common as chameleons are. These garments feature sensors and change shading depending on the wearer’s mood and climate. Engineered microfiber, for instance, has become a common material for clothes. And some even feature sensors that action biometrics and alter temperature. RFID innovation is also present in associated clothes, which can help consumers find their lost wearables.
While the impact of wearable technology on fashion is still early, some industries are seeing a tremendous uptake in sales. For example, in the healthcare industry, wearable technology is expected to increase the use of wristbands. The Jacquard Project, a collaboration between Google and Levi’s, says that smart clothes will become more affordable and more widely available in the future. Those who haven’t considered this possibility should start imagining their potential.
While many wearables are designed to track a user’s heart rate, many of them are also equipped with health and fitness data. These devices use the latest technology to monitor the wearer’s heart rate and fitness. In addition to this, they also help track the wearer’s stress levels at work. Another exciting trend is the use of smartwatches in the workplace. The technology promises to revolutionize workplace safety, and personal protective equipment manufacturers are investing heavily in this sector.
A common concern is the lack of washability of wearable technology clothes. Many devices are powered by batteries, which must be removed before washing. This can limit the usefulness of such clothing. Washability issues are likely to make consumers wary of investing in these devices. In the meantime, many people are willing to pay high prices for smart clothes. And since most of these devices are made from durable materials, they may not last long enough for consumers to adapt to them.