Image source: onegreenplanet.org
Fast fashion has made itself an (itegeral) part of our lives. Whilst it is hard to find the exact volume of garments produced and sold, we do know that the global garment market is worth approximately $3 trillion. By some estimates, over 80 billion new garments and 25 billion shoes are bought globally every year. That's a lot of stuff. That's also a lot of stuff that ends up in landfill. It is not easy to keep fast fashion moving at this pace, it requires cheap labor and cheap manufacturing. That is why our goal of natural, biodegradable, and fair is so important.
Garment production is an industry still plagued by slavery and child labor which is why some brands and companies are now working so hard to put an end to both. As of 2017, there were an estimated 150+ million child laborers in the world. The ILO estimates at least 6 million children are forced into labor around the world. In an article posted by the ILO in conjunction with Alliance 8.7, they found that:
"The new estimates also show that women and girls are disproportionately affected
by modern slavery, accounting almost 29 million, or 71 per cent ofthe overall total.
Women represent 99 per cent of the victims of forced labour in the commercial sex
industry and 84 per cent of forced marriages.
The research reveals that among the 40 million victims of modern slavery, about 25
million were in forced labour, and 15 million were in forced marriage.
Child labour remains concentrated primarily in agriculture (70.9 per cent). Almost one
in five child labourers work in the services sector (17.1 per cent) while 11.9 per cent of
child labourers work in industry.
While nbdy was getting off the ground this article from the Guardian with research from Orb media dropped. One of the main goals we originally had was to focus on recycling. Adidas and other brands are working with PET plastic as a new recyclable solution for some of the ecological damage we are doing to the world. Unfortunately, we now know that any plastic, especially in the things we put in our washing machines, can make it into our water supply. Each load of laundry can release hundreds of thousands of microplastics, depending on how many synthetic fibers are present. Synthetic fibers include polyester, acrylic, polyamide, spandex/ lycra/ elastane, and nylon.
Solving the world's fast fashion problem is as simple as illuminating the problem and changing spending habits. If you're unfamiliar with the children's book The Lorax, it is a story about environmentalism that ends with this simple plea from the protagonist:
Image source: The Guardian
Image source: NCBI
Image source: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss