Celebrating Fashion, Forests and Water
In recognition of International Day of Forests and World Water Day taking place this week, we’re reflecting on fashion’s planetary impacts to share simple ways that we can collectively lessen the threat to forests and water.
Fashion meets Forests
When you think of forests, you may not immediately associate those gorgeous expanses of green, earthly and biodiversity rich areas with the cloth on your skin. But trees - yes trees - are used to make fibres for fashion.
And we’re cutting down forests at jaw-dropping rates.
- Every year, 120 million trees are cut down to make our clothing.1
- 30% of the rayon and viscose used in fashion comes from endangered and ancient forests.2
- 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions are generated because of deforestation.3
Like you, we love our forests. Not just for the chance to get mud between our toes, but because forests play vital roles in providing food, water, medicine, maintaining biodiversity and - of course - mitigating climate change by faithfully soaking up our gas-guzzling-induced carbon dioxide. Forests also provide critical habitats for humans and for 80% of the world’s animal species, plants and insects.
What can we do?
As grim as the facts may read, it’s not all doom and gloom because fashion is starting to cleaning up its forestry act. Many fashion brands now source FSC certified cellulose fibres that are taken from trees cut from sustainably-managed forests rather - thank goodness - than cutting down precious ancient trees for the sake of fashion. Popular choices are biodegradable fabrics like LENZING™ modal or yarn suppliers NAIA who both also use sustainable processing systems to ensure closed-loop manufacturing, so that the chemicals and water needed to transform wood into fashion are re-circulated and used over and over.4
Within our ‘Start From Zero’ collection, our trusted manufacturing partner provided us with excess LENZINGTM modal waste materials, which we upcycled into two timeless pieces: Donovan Tank and Dilli Tee.
Fashion and the global water crisis
Fashion creates a huge water impact - from growing cotton, processing fibres, dying textiles to how you wash your clothes at home - and these impacts infiltrate our rivers, the oceans that we love to swim to the the fish that we eat.
- 2,700 litres of water is used to make one cotton shirt5 which is what one person drinks in 2.5 years.6
- Up to 20% of industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles.7
- 37% of the water in China - which is the biggest manufacturer of textiles and clothes - is deemed "unfit for human contact".8
Ismail Serageldin, World Bank Vice President for Environmental Affairs
What can we do?
As part of our commitment to protecting water, we source our materials exclusively from textile waste, which slows down the demand for virgin materials, radically minimising fashion’s impact on water9, and also on climate change, water pollution and land use.
So we’re doing our bit - and now you can do yours, fashionably of course!
We recommend you get creative with your styling to keep your clothes in the fashion system for longer and to prolong their lifespan. We only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time - so you can actually help to protect our precious forests and water, whilst looking good, by extending the life of clothes. Get inspired - because extending the use of your clothes by just nine extra months of active use can reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by around 20-30% each.
You can also change your washing habits to reduce water usage and pollution by following our simple Care Guidelines. Our top tip? Don’t overwash your clothes, and learn how to spot clean, especially for polyester.
How To Spot Clean Your Clothes
Protect our planet - buy less, choose well
We believe we must all buy less and choose well and invest in sustainably-produced clothes that are designed to last. The throwaway nature and low cost of fast fashion is one of the driving forces around our excessive use of water and deforestation. By voting with your dollar, you can make a difference on the future of our planet.
When you really must buy new clothes, look for transparency in the brand’s supply chain, seek out sustainably sourced materials and join the #CircularFashionRevolution.
1Rainforest Action Network
2World Economic Forum
6World Economic Forum
7The World Bank Group
8China Water Risk