Fashioning Sustainability: A Clothing Industry Eco-review

Whoops. The other day when we mentioned the upcoming tome Sustainable Fashion and Textiles, we cited a few other green fashion publications, but forgot to make mention of the Fashioning Sustainability 2007 Report compiled by the Forum For The Future (and supported by Marks and Spencer). That was a large oversight, because this free PDF download is 14 pages packed with succinct, yet interesting, information on the rag trade. It delves into eight specific aspects on the textile industry: fashion consumption, cotton production, supply chain working conditions, energy consumption of laundering clothes, chemicals, non-degradable man-made fibres, 'Fashion Miles and finally, animal welfare.

They tackle one of the often forgotten aspects of green apparel, noted here once or twice, even thrice before. That the 'use' phase of clothing (laundering, etc) accounts for at least 65% of its total energy load, while its actual material ranks as only 16%. Put another way, typical laundering of a 250g cotton t-shirt generates the equivalent of 4kg of CO2 emissions. And notes that "eliminating tumble drying and ironing, in combination with the lower wash temperature, leads to around 50% reduction in the climate change impact of a piece of clothing." (So just reading care labels before buying, and selecting those garments with the least intensive laundering qualifies us as green fashionistas.)While the report is focussed on the UK market, much of the information presented is applicable to other countries, and is well worth the read, because like food, clothing is something we all 'consume' and a more complete understanding of the forces at play makes us all better informed 'consumers' contributing to positive change. Fashioning Sustainability Report.

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