The drop in garment prices over the last 20 years has allowed us to buy more and more clothes. We now have 5 times more clothes than past generations. As a result, huge amounts of clothes have to be produced every year. In the process, a lot of damage is caused to our health, our planet, and garment workers’ lives.
Given that for most of us clothes are one of the three basic needs, the fast-fashion facts are nothing short of astounding. Here’s a look:
Fast Fashion Industry Facts
Mass-production of cheap, disposable clothing
1. The world clothing and textile industry has reached over $2,560 trillion.
2. The world childrens wear market is over $186 billion.
3. Consumers in the United Kingdom have an estimated £30 billion ($46.7 billion) worth of unworn clothes sitting in their closets.
4. Brands release 52 micro-collections per year instead of the usual two seasons.
5. The clothing industry produces 400% more clothes now than 20 years ago.
6. People wear clothes on average seven times only before throwing them away.
7. Most women wear at most 30% of the clothes in their wardrobes.
8. In 2010, American households spent, on average, $1,700 on apparel, footwear, and related products and services.
9. Fashion industry facts show that Manhattanites spend the most on apparel at $362 per month. Shoppers in Tucson, Arizona spend the least on apparel: $131 per month.
Related article: Why is Fast Fashion Bad?
Toxic substances in our clothes
10. One kg of chemicals is needed to produce one kg of textiles.
11. 11 of the chemicals commonly used to produce clothes are hazardous.
12. 80% of the world’s leather production uses chromium.
Related article: The Most Sustainable Fabrics
Celebrating fast fashion
13. 232,000 people attend New York Fashion Week per year (116,000 each fashion week).
14. $20 million is funneled into the New York City economy during fashion week.
Impact of fast fashion on humans
15. Facts about fast fashion indicate that 20,000 people die of cancer and miscarriages every year as a result of chemicals sprayed on cotton.
16. Exposure to formaldehyde used to prevent mildewing and wrinkling as a result of overconsumption of clothing items can cause severe allergic reactions.
17. Women make up 80 percent of textile workers globally. Most of these work many hours of overtime and get paid 5 times less than what a person actually needs to live with dignity.
18. 60 percent of those who labor in the global fashion industry are children under the age of 18 years making child labor one of the major fast fashion problems.
Impact of fast fashion on the environment
19. 1.5 trillion liters of water are used by the fashion industry every year.
20. Fashion industry pollution statistics reveal that 20% of the industrial water pollution comes from textile treatments and dyes.
21. 22,000 liters of toxic waste is dumped into rivers by tanneries in Bangladesh every day.
22. 19,000 tons of textile microplastic fibers end up in our oceans every year.
23. An equivalent of one garbage truck of textile is wasted every second.
Greenhouse gases emissions of the fashion industry
24. Fashion industry statistics show that 10% of global carbon emissions come from the fashion industry.
25. 70 million barrels of oil are used to produce polyester every year. Polyester emits up to three times carbon dioxide than other fibers such as cotton.
These facts about fast fashion are a sure indicator of the problems that the fashion industry is causing all around. Without a buyer, there wouldn’t be a need for so many clothes. So if we say no to fast fashion and choose slow fashion, we’d bring down the statistics!
If you can reduce your consumption and support brands who only produce sustainable clothing, then you can make a big difference to the health of our environment.
Sources: BLS Spotlight on Statistics, The Guardian, Greenpeace International, Toxic Threads, Forbes