As environmental and social concerns rise in the fashion industry, there might be a few things you wish you knew about your clothes.
We want to feel able to make a difference with our own impact on our planet and the people on our planet. However when it comes to something as basic as getting dressed in the morning, we're already lost. So what would be helpful for us to know about the clothes we're wearing? Importantly how can we break this information down into something understandable, and also fun? Here are four things you might wish you knew about your clothes:
1. The amount of water used in production
When your clothing is produced, it puts a huge strain on our water resources. Shockingly, it takes 2720 litres of water to make a t-shirt. That's how much we normally drink over a three year period! Imagine the resources it takes to water the cotton crops, wash the fabric and then dye it. So inevitably, for our future, it will be important that we reduce the amount of water we use to make our clothing. Reformation is one fashion brand which already tells us the amount of water used during the making of their clothes.
2. The meaning of material content
Our clothing labels are already meant to telling us what materials our clothing is made of, however I want to know what those choices of material actually mean for the environment. We come across clothes which say they're made of 'organic cotton', or more recently materials like 'Lyocell'. Be prepared for a lot more new materials & their names to make their appearances, as the fashion industry switches to more eco-conscious inputs. For example, even organic cotton uses a huge amount of water during production, so brands are using materials such as Lyocell which uses less water. So we need the labels on our clothing to actually tell us what the materials our clothing is made of means to us and to our planet.
3. Payment of the living wage to garment workers
We hear shocking stories about the impact of our clothing not just on our planet, but the people on our planet. Don't you wish you could know when you're buying clothing which are made in fair working environments? With the upcoming enforcement of the Modern Slavery Law in the UK, fashion brands will have to start making sure our clothes are made more safely. Many of the brands we know already collect information on whether the garment factories they work with comply with paying their workers the living wage. If this was information is known and fed through to us, we would all feel a bit safer.
After I've enjoyed wearing my clothes and I am ready to part ways, I want to know what is the best thing I can do with them! Linking with big themes like the circular economy and sharing economy, we need to get better at making sure our clothing is put to good use rather than ending up in landfill. Recycling our clothing means it can be given another life. Wouldn't it be useful if we knew if we could recycle our clothing, and where?
Whilst wishing we knew these four things about our clothes is great, the problem comes when delivering such information in reality. When we're shopping for new clothes there are so many other things to think about, aside from these four additional things. I'm currently investigating just how fashion brands can actually deliver this exciting information which we wished we knew about our clothing. Watch this space, and do let me know what you wished you knew about your clothing?
Follow Marianne Caroline Hughes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/M_CarolineH