Are our wardrobes killing the environment?
More often than not we wander into a shop, have a browse, find something we like and buy it - all without a second thought to the environmental implications of our purchase. Of course, some of us take the time to consider which brands are ethical or which fabrics are better for the environment and make our decisions accordingly.
Lots of cheap "fad" items (so called because they are trendy for a short period of time, and then very quickly become unfashionable) are made using raw materials which aren't sustainable. Fabrics such as acrylic, nylon and polyester are all made from synthetic fibres which come from non-renewable resources - like coal and oil. At some point, these resources will run out. They're also important resources which are needed for many other purposes! In recent years, companies have been researching alternatives, made from natural resources which are renewable. Today, you can find underwear made from bamboo, jeans made from stinging nettle fibres and lots of other items made with unusual materials!
Stella McCartney is a famous fashion designer whose clothing lines are very environmentally friendly. She doesn't use animal products (such as leather or wool) to make her garments, instead choosing to find other alternatives. Another eco-friendly fashion designer is Katherine Hamnett, who is famous for designing slogan t-shirts with environmental messages on them. On the high street, many big brands are trying to prove to customers that they are considering the environment when producing their clothing. H&M encourages customers to donate any unwanted clothes for recycling; they then give the customer a voucher to use in their shop as a reward. Primark is a chain which produces high volumes of low-cost low-quality clothing; many people think it is not very environmentally friendly to buy clothes from this shop.
Having studied textiles at school, I make an effort to choose sustainable clothes where possible. I usually avoid buying very cheap clothes (unless they're on sale from a good shop!) and pay a little bit more for something that will last much longer.