By Lily Corcoran
It’s World Water Week, and we want to dive into the impact fashion has on water consumption. In fact, the fashion industry has a direct impact not only on how much water we’re using, but also on the health of our oceans. During this week and beyond, we want to raise awareness on the importance of riding the wave of water-conscious fashion production.
Let’s jump into it and talk about what you can do to steer clear of water-wasting clothing brands.
Needless water draining down the pipe
Here are some facts on water usage in the fashion world. Did you know…
- Although organic cotton is great for cutting out polluting pesticides, cotton farms are incredibly water-intensive, with cotton being named the ‘thirsty crop’.
- While producing the same yield, bamboo farms take up 10% of the space required for cotton farms.
- The excessive water used in producing the raw materials for clothing is only half the story: huge amounts of energy are used, and many non-biodegradable waste products are produced in the process.
Polluting our oceans
By now, we’re all familiar with The True Cost documentary and just how polluting artificial dyes used in fashion can be for our oceans, the people making our clothes, and the Earth when these clothes end up in landfill. This all, of course, has a knock-on effect for not just the aquatic biodiversity, but globally.
Along with all the microplastics that get carried away and out to the ocean each time we wash our clothes, the harmful chemicals from the coloured dyes seep out of the fabric and slink away into the sea.
The funnel metaphor
Using the apt metaphor of a funnel, we can better understand the consumerist nature of the fashion industry, along with the challenges it faces to become sustainable.
Essentially, it tells us that if we keep consuming water-hungry fast fashion, this will have a domino effect on both ecology and society. This means that the more we consume, the harder it will be to escape this flow, until we’re channelled further into the funnel and become pinned against the narrowing walls. If we continue going at the rate we’re going, there’ll be less space (and time) for us to escape and reverse the effects that the over-consumption of water and other resources are having.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. We don’t have to allow ourselves to be washed along on this path of unsustainable practices and consumeristic cycles. By consciously avoiding fast fashion labels who don’t advocate for water-safe production, and instead uplifting those who do, we can help to establish a healthier relationship with the Earth and everyone on it.
Water-conscious brands to support
We want to talk about four sustainable, water-conscious brands to support.
The issue of water consumption in fashion is complex, because the system used to produce clothing has so many elements to it. Eco-conscious fashion brands who have water in mind will often succeed in one area of saving water, but it’s a challenge to hit all the criteria. Many sustainable fashion companies either aim to reduce water consumption by recycling materials, or they use organic raw materials which do not release harmful toxins into the water system.
Nevertheless, here are some sustainable fashion brands who are causing a splash with their water-saving practices.
Asceno use bamboo satin, produced using 1/3 less water than cotton requires to grow, and which requires no pesticides or chemicals in production. Bamboo is less disruptive to soil as it can self-regenerate and it’s also one of the quickest plants to grow. Check out their bamboo satin range for some seriously silky, water-friendly comfort.
Ivy & Oak
Focusing on developing current and future ranges using recycled fabrics, this company is focusing on cutting down their water usage and protecting the farmers from harmful chemicals when harvesting organic crops.
Their recycled polyester is crafted from recycled water bottles and textile waste, and produces less CO2 emissions and uses less water than creating this material from scratch.
They’re also passionate about their recycled wool, which requires fewer washes due to the natural protective outer layer of the fibres.
Incorporating water-focused initiatives, including rainwater harvesting and water recycling, this brand is certainly causing ripples of excitement.
Their organic cotton garments ensure that pesticides which are commonly used in cotton farms are limited. This reduces the run off of harmful chemicals, protecting the farmers, drinking water, the soil and, eventually, the ocean.
Saint + Sofia
Mainly using recycled fabrics and planting trees to offset their carbon footprint, Saint + Sofia are a chic fashion label who fuse the science of production with the art of design.
These are just four great brands doing their bit to continue to shape the way they use water. It’s easy to forget that saving water isn’t just about taking shorter showers, and that what we wear has such a ripple effect. It’s the water that’s used in production, the chemicals associated with that, and where the clothes end up when all is said and done.
Be sure to check out the sustainable brands spotlighted here, and also feel free to comment below any companies you know who are making waves in the water-conscious fashion scene!
This article may contain some affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, KeiSei Magazine receives a small percentage of the sale price, or some brands may have paid a small fee to be featured. We only recommend brands that match our sustainable and ethical criteria and that we truly believe in.