Hi everyone! I’m Eileen, Inclusivi-Tee’s new intern.
Hi everyone! I’m Eileen, Inclusivi-Tee’s new intern. I am so excited to be here because Inclusivi-Tee combines my two favorite topics: fashion and sustainability. In my spare time, you can find me embroidering everything I can get my hands on, watching fashion documentaries, and bothering my friends and family about their carbon footprints. By working with Inclusivi-tee, I hope to help them with their mission of bringing attention to all the issues surrounding fashion and being part of the solution.
The fashion industry has a huge environmental impact that a lot of people are unaware of. When consumers see a shirt for $5 they get excited about a ‘good deal’ instead of wondering how it could be so cheap. People have come to expect these prices. While most everything has gotten more expensive in the past few decades, clothing prices have gotten lower, even if you don’t adjust for inflation. This has led to a culture of fast fashion and buying more for less.
Because most garments can be purchased for the price of a coffee, people in first world countries view their clothing as practically single use. Disposable. The idea of buying a dress and wearing it once is a normal practice. On average, Americans wear a garment 7 times before getting rid of it. The average American woman buys 65 new pieces each year and produces 68 pounds of textile waste in the same amount of time. The similarity between these two numbers is no coincidence.
But, how did we get here? Why did the average American woman go from owning 36 pieces of clothing in 1960 to 120 pieces today? I have written countless papers and spent hours reading articles on the historical, economic, sociological, and political context of questions like these and hope to address some in coming posts.
It can be overwhelming how every aspect of human life has a negative impact on the environment, which is why I think it is so important to also talk about solutions. There are environmental disasters and human rights violations every single day, we can’t ignore this. But if we focus only on the disasters it will feel like a lost cause and nothing will change. It is not too late.
The fashion industry contributes millions of tons of textile waste to landfills each year, pollutes rivers beyond restoration, and even takes human lives when workers labor in unsafe conditions. People tend to see fashion as frivolous and associate it with art, so the ugliness of fashion is forgotten and ignored. Inclusivi-tee and brands like it are working towards a healthier culture of fashion. One that includes sustainable materials, fairly paid workers, long-lasting garments, and art. Fashion is an art, but it is also an environmental and social justice issue. It is possible to address its problems while keeping the art alive.