Just how bad is the fashion industry?
Waste is at the heart of fashion. We live in a culture consumed by the desire to own the latest and greatest products but on average a piece of clothing is only worn 7 times.
Close to 100 million garments of clothing are made a year, but not all of these reach the consumer. In fact, three out of five of these garments will end up in landfill, rather than a wardrobe. Fast fashion is one of the largest sources of pollution in the world, causing 10% of annual global carbon emissions, and is expected to skyrocket to 50% by 2030. To put things into perspective, it takes about 700 gallons of water to produce one cotton shirt. That's enough water for one person to drink at least eight cups per day for three-and-a-half years.
Fast fashion made from cheap materials without consideration for working or environmental conditions is unethical and unsustainable. The majority of products in the fashion industry are made in undeveloped countries with child labour, slavery conditions, low wages and exaggerated working hours. 97% of fast fashion is produced overseas in developing countries with poor labour laws and human rights protections. Of the 75 million factory workers around the world, it’s estimated that only 2% earn a living wage.
Each year people throw away apparel worth an estimated $460 billion that they could continue to wear. Studies have proved that increasing the number of times we wear clothing items is the best way to reduce the environmental and social impact of our wardrobes. If the average number of times a garment is worn were doubled, greenhouse gas emissions from textiles would be 44% lower and peer-to-peer rental is 60% more efficient in relation to resource use than the production of new garments. Doubling the amount of times a garment is worn will reduce its impact by 40%. Extending their life even by nine extra months can reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by around 4-10% each.
To meet the increased demand of the future consumer who places an emphasis on experiences, less on ownership and more on the environment, the fashion industry is ripe for disruption. Meet rax, Canada’s peer-to-peer wardrobe rental app where you can borrow and lend your clothing.