Did you know this?
Right now, one of the largest polluters on this planet is the fashion industry!
Across the world, it is estimated that we have 5 times more clothing than our grandparents did. It is believed that by 2025 this count will be double - that means we will be owning 10 times more clothing than what our grandparents had!
98% of these clothes is synthetic fiber and only 2 % is natural fiber. 95% of which is polyester fiber.
Poly fiber has entered our bodies, plants, food chain, soil, animals, water and almost everything in our environment. Lately, there has been a singular focus on plastic straws and plastic bags.
Everybody is trying to shoot at little plastic bags and straws, which must be done off course, but the poly fiber cloth is the largest polluter which is going under the radar, sitting on our bodies constantly polluting everything because the micro poly fiber is just getting into everything. In addition to our environment, this includes our food and water supply.
There is that poignant picture of turtle trapped in net, but we are all those turtles!
So, one of the things which lead to this situation is the history of textile manufacturing and production. India was the greatest supplier of textiles to the rest of the world at one time. 60% of world’s exports were Indian textile 300 years ago. It was systematically destroyed during the British era. Over 3-4 million people died over 50 years simply because the industry was steadily knocked down, and that’s one reason why when the British left India, around 91-92% of people were in agriculture because all these weavers went back to agriculture just for sustenance. Agriculture became in such disarray and one of the major reasons is because of destruction of handloom industries.
Sadly, it reached a point of where one of the governor generals said the feel of India is bleached by the bones of hand weavers in 1860 because of the billions that died. So having said that Indian workers still have the skills, India is poised if we do the right thing, and to be able to clothe the world in the sensible way, and in a natural way. Through a conversion to natural fiber production, Indian, along with all mass producing countries, can lead as an example to the world.
Now a question that could be raised is that how good is natural fiber over synthetic? Why this switch?
The major and most convincing point that I found is that as when we put on any cosmetic on our skin, 60% of it goes onto our bloodstream. So, what do you think happens with the clothing we wear? If clothes are treated with chemicals, wouldn’t it impact our skin? Wouldn’t our body absorb part of those chemicals?
The most impact could be studied by the consequences of chemically treated clothing industries having on their workers. It is found by a Canadian study that women working in acrylic textile factories have seven times the risk of breast cancer than the normal population.
When it comes to the point of sustainability, natural fiber is far more sustainable than synthetic fibers which requires high energy use and crude oil. Since synthetic fiber is majorly made of plastic ingredients, they are not quickly biodegradable in comparison to natural fibers, which are majorly made of plants materials and hence materials readily decompose.
Now natural fiber doesn’t mean using conventional cotton, it means using organic cotton. Non-organic cotton requires the use of pesticides to such an extent that it turns out to be more polluting than other fabrics like linen and hemp.
Although most of the times natural fabric is costlier than synthetic fiber, but this is also a fact that natural fiber clothes last longer than synthetic fiber clothes. Synthetic fiber becomes fuzzy and tears easily and shortly thus leaving at a situation to end up spending more money on buying new clothes.
I know this habit would make us buy less clothes and might not be liked by most people who love to have new clothes frequently, believe me I also used to be in that category but once I started being part of natural fiber clothing, I saw change in myself. It turned out that I can save money which makes me happier and I am now able to have more travels than clothes.
Natural fiber clothing is a better investment - better investment in the environment!
The concern is not only for natural fabric clothing, but we should also align our consumption towards natural fabric mattresses, pillow cases and bedding products as well. One third of our whole lifetime we spend resting or sleeping in our beds. Now you could imagine the impact of synthetic bedding. Cotton is considered as the best fabric for bed sheets. It is considered as the most breathable fabric available. It is also naturally moisture – wicking, that means whenever our body is in a moisture state or in case of any spills, it doesn’t soak water into the sheets, instead evaporates into the air.
As we detox our body once a week to stay healthy, we need to detox our closet by getting rid of synthetic fabric as much possible. There are so many fashion companies that are making transitions towards sustainable and eco-conscious fashion which helps a lot in finding great looking sustainable clothes where we would not need to compromise our fashion, comfort, or ethics!
Most of the natural fiber has wiped out. Its time to get it back.