The EU has gradually recognised the negative environmental impact of the fast fashion industry and is now under constant pressure to make the global value chain more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Fast fashion is popular because of the cheaper, faster manufacturing process. Also, the growth in the apparel export business reflects the actual high consumer demand, which in turn attracts SMEs to focus on mass production, marketing, and sales at a low price, resulting in fast fashion.
The global textile industry was responsible for 79 billion cubic metres of water, 1715 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, and 92 million tonnes of waste in 2015, with a 50% increase predicted by 2030 if no action is taken.
This industry has also a large impact on only the European economy, with a turnover of around EUR 80 billion in 2018. friendly. However, consumer awareness is still in its early stages, as the EU exported approximately EUR 119 billion in clothing in 2018, representing a nearly 35% increase over 2013.
The information above is covering one particular side but there are various sides fast fashion causing environmental destruction, therefore, generally, the next thought comes, how can we solve this issue about this global concerning the matter?
The new movement, Eco-labelling promotes transparency between manufacturers and customers interested in purchasing sustainable and environmentally friendly products. The circular economy concept should be supported, encouraging rethinking and redesigning current process techniques, emphasising the cradle-to-cradle process, and reducing waste generation as much as possible.
Creative scientists focusing on manufacturing goods with raw material goods in a more clean way. For example, cotton is the most widely used natural fibre in the fashion industry. The hydrophilic material is made up of 99 percent cellulose. Because it is the purest cellulose, it has the unique property of being more robust when wet and extremely comfortable and soft, making it desirable to wear.
Polyester, which is a hydrophobic synthetic polymer with the ability to melt when heated and solidify when cooled, is another common raw material. As a result, these polymers are typically processed by melt spinning at high temperatures, which is tailored to the required length and thickness. They are commonly used because they are strong, durable, and stretchable materials that are easy to wash and resist stains.
Types of fibers are made from a variety of resources and have varying environmental impacts. Depending on how many different materials are involved in the manufacturing cycle, disassembly and sorting during the recycling phase will require additional effort, resulting in higher environmental and economic impacts.
The recycling process is preferred to making new materials because it uses less energy than the virgin raw material. Cotton can also be recycled mechanically, which has the least environmental impact.
However, this reduces the material’s quality. Polyester is not as comfortable as cotton, but the fibres can have the same properties as virgin material with chemical recycling5, which has a greater environmental impact than mechanical recycling.
Scientists are currently investigating some chemical-free biodegradable and long-lasting fibres, such as Mycelium and Jellyfish. These fibres have the advantage of producing only what is needed while avoiding energy-intensive processes such as spinning yarns and weaving.
To bring this world a better and clean place to live, rethinking and changing the making process of goods into fashionable goods from the start can make a big difference. Although designing the entire system from scratch, raw materials to manufacturing finished good system is still in process but soon we will reach a more sustainable fashion production.