Last year, a few months after we concluded the Shop Drop Challenge, I ran into a friend who had participated. She’d pledged to not buy anything new for 30 days, joining the Mommy Greenest community in our effort to raise awareness of the environmental impact of fashion, and the eco-friendly options that thrifting, swapping and consignment provide.
And guess what? After her 30 days were up, my friend kept her pledge! She’d saved so much money and time that it became her way of life. Now I’ve got a new challenge for her.
I’m asking this friend—and the entire Mommy Greenest community—to join me next Friday, 4.24.15, for a global effort called Fashion Revolution Day. Are you in?
I’m asking the Mommy Greenest community to help me celebrate Fashion Revolution Day on Friday 4.24.15. Will you join us? The initiative is simple:
1. Photograph yourself wearing one (or more) item(s) of clothing inside out, so that you can see the label.
2. Look up the manufacturer’s Twitter handle.
3. Post the photo with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes and tag @Fash_Rev and the manufacturer. (If you tag me—@rachellsarnoff—I’ll share it, too!)
Fashion Revolution Day is designed to request better transparency from the fashion industry, and to provide brands that are producing ethically the opportunity to share the steps of their fair trade supply chain.
It’s a serious problem: In 2013, the Rana Plaza garment factory building fire that killed more than 900 people in Bangladesh threw a harsh light on the realities of the $3 trillion fashion industry, which depends on cheap and often toxic production in order to give us our fast fashion fix.
In addition to the human cost, fashion’s environmental toll is astounding.
• A basic t-shirt requires 1/3 of a pound of toxic fertilizer to produce.
• The cotton crop uses 17% of the world’s insecticides and is 94% genetically modified.
• It takes more than 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans—that’s equal to nearly 300 showers.
• The textile industry is the world’s second largest water polluter, after agriculture.
Environmentally, we’re on a global loop: According to ApparelStats, 98% of the clothes that Americans buy are made in other countries, and the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that a full 30% of California’s particulate air pollution—that means smog—comes from China, where textile production contributes to three billion tons of toxic soot each year.
The problem is serious: The average American buys 64 items of new clothing per year, spending $60 per month on clothes and tossing six pounds of textile waste into the landfill.
But the solution is simple: If you’re buying new, choose ethically made clothes and accessories. Better yet, keep clothes out of the waste stream by thrifting, swapping and buying on consignment. In fact, according to the Global Fashion Exchange, a full 95% of the clothes that we toss into the landfill are recyclable and each year 1.7 billion clothing items go unused in closets across the globe. The EPA estimates that reusing clothes and shoes is better for the environment than glass and plastic recycling combined!
If we all reused and recycled our clothes rather than buying new, we could make a huge impact! My new favorite resource for this is thredUP.
So my friend is on the right track. And I’m right there with her: Aside from the occasional swimsuit, I’ve exclusively shopped preloved for more than four years. We’re starting a Fashion Revolution Day.
Are you with us? Why or why not? Please let me know how the Fashion Revolution Day affects you, in comments below.