Creativity and Glamour. Two words immediately associated with the fashion industry. They are also important for a brand to thrive. However, regarding sustainability the industry is short of creativity. Despite the increasingly number of great small initiatives on developing new fibres from sustainable sources such as recycled plastic, banana leaves or recycled garments, responsible production it’s still in its infancy.
Fashion industry generates 10% of global GHG emissions, more than international flights and maritime transport, according to the UN Environment. Regarding water usage, another scarce resource, it is reported as only second to the agriculture industry. UN Environment also reports that currently, humans buy 60% more than 15 years ago keeping garments for 50% less than before. What it remains to be seen is the cause of such drop. Is it due to a reduction in quality? Or to the desire to be seen as fashionable the fashion industry has triggered in consumers? The increased success of fast-fashion retailers in the last decades suggests that many consumers want to be seen as fashionable at an affordable price. Perhaps in the quest of acceptance in a society whose values weren’t sustainable.
The Cambridge dictionary defines fossil fuels as “fuels, such as gas, coal, and oil, that were formed underground from plant and animal remains millions of years ago”. Any fossil fuel is composed of hydrocarbons, hydrogen and carbon.
For many decades, humans have been using fossil fuels for many purposes as heating, travelling, clothe themselves, manufacturing or to produce electricity that sustained most of the economic activity. As illustrated in the Oil refining tower infographic below, oil by-products are obtained in the refining process of crude oil barrels. The first by-product from the refining process is bitumen, which is mainly used to asphalt roads, so we can easily circulate through it with our means of transport. The latter use other by-products such as Gas Oils or Naftas. Naftas are also used in many fibres, which once transformed make many consumers happy with the new clothes or the plastic components used in many gadgets, tools or other products. These are so present in our daily life that with our current lifestyle and the current technological developments, would be very challenging to live without them. Fuel Oils are often used not only by maritime transport but also in waxes or oils that once transformed make our homes smell better. What would be of the barbecues or camping cooking if LPG wasn’t made available? The lifestyle of many has been hugely sustained by fossil fuels.