We’re buying more clothes than ever before.
Not better clothes, but more clothes.
The rise of fast fashion has fundamentally transformed our attitudes towards buying threads.
Our clothes have gone from being investments in quality and craftsmanship, to little more than throwaway goods – and this is having a devastating impact on the environment.
Australians, for instance, only end up using 40 per cent of the clothes in our wardrobe, and we only wear those items an average of seven times.
As a result, we’re throwing away 500,000 tonnes of textiles into landfills every single year.
This relentless demand for cheap threads has seen production move to developing nations with low regulatory standards and harmful production processes.
Alarmingly, common dyeing practices are wreaking havoc on the natural world and the vulnerable people that rely on it.
Cheap fabric dyes use massive amounts of toxic chemicals which are then dumped into local waterways – poisoning water supplies and in some cases, even turning them bright shades of pink and blue.
These dyes also use monumental amounts of water (16-20L for a T-shirt) which are bleeding seas, lakes and rivers completely dry.
Look no further than the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, which the fashion industry has turned into a dustbowl over the past thirty years.
Thankfully though, there are some incredibly exciting innovations that are proving to be a beacon of hope for the future.
Kathmandu’s Earth Hoodie uses ‘Earthcolors by Archroma’ – a dye that’s completely traceable back to nature.
Instead of toxic chemicals, Earthcolors uses the shells of nuts and leaves from trees to create a stunning spectrum of warm, earthy colours.
There’s certainly cause for optimism, with products like the Earth Hoodie providing a sustainable solution and natural alternative that rests easily on your conscience.
Hopefully we see more brands follow suit!