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On Water. The United Nations estimates that 1.2 billion people lack access to clean water. Meanwhile, fashion is the second largest consumer and polluter of water.


Textile manufacturing is an extremely water intensive process. For example, nearly 10,000 litres of water is required to produce one pair of denim jeans. 


The World Bank estimates almost 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles. In China, 2.5 billion tonnes of wastewater is pumped out every year.

On Climate Change. Global warming is the rise in Earth’s overall temperature from the increase of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas being emitted, and the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the total carbon impact.

production levels

Statistics estimate that we wear our clothing on an average of 7 times before we toss it. Clothing has become more disposable than ever, with over 150 billion pieces, which equates to over 20 pieces of new clothing, for every single person on the planet every single year.

Hazardous Chemicals

The textile industry is chemically intensive - using a number of different chemicals for everything from dyeing fabrics to printing and finishing. The runoff from dye houses contain heavy metals, alkali salts, toxic solids, and harmful pigments. About 40% of colorants used around the world contain organically bound chlorine, a known carcinogen that can cause cancer. These pollutants are released into the air and dumped into waterways harming the environment and human health.

fossil fuel fibers

To make cheap clothing, brands use cheap fibers. According to a Greenpeace report, Polyester is now the most common fiber in our clothes - in over 60% of our clothes. Polyester comes from the fossil fuel (also the same type of fuel we pump into our cars), and for every ton of polyester, manufacturers emit over 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

On Waste. Singaporeans throw away over 100,000 tonnes of textile waste a year. Over 99% of the clothing thrown away can be recycled or reused, but sadly, no more than 7% of them get recycled - the rest end up in landfills and incineration plants. Even in a landfill, these materials don’t just disintegrate— nylon takes 30 to 40 years to biodegrade, while polyester requires more than 200 years.


According to International Wool Textile Organisation, synthetic textiles take about 30 to 40 years to biodegrade, contributing to the piles of waste in landfills. When they do, they release chemicals like formaldehyde, heavy metals, BPA, and PFCs into the environment. 

On Communities. In 2013, over 1,100 fashion workers were killed when the building they were forced to stay in despite visible cracks in the foundation collapsed. This highlights one of the biggest issues faced in the fashion industry: corruption, and the limits of industry audits.


Auditors are third-party companies that get paid by brands to check that a factory complies with social, environmental, and safety standards. The response brands have for almost every factory crisis that comes to light? "It's the manufacturer’s fault for subcontracting without our authorization.” In the fast fashion production capital of Bangladesh, nearly half of the factories are subcontractors. That's a response we have to reconsider, given that subcontracting is the norm and not the exception.

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