“We communicate who we are with our clothing,” begins the trailer for The True Cost, a newly released fashion documentary.
According to the documentary, what we communicate with our fashion apparel is more than we think. Just like our food choices, our fashion choices matter to water systems around the globe. The water footprint for a t-shirt is 560 gallons of water on average. For a pair of jeans, it is 3,000.
The average American throws away 54 pounds of textiles per year, according to The Green Blue Book. We are literally throwing away water and leaving chemicals behind in the environment.
The clothing industry, feeding our insatiable demand for clothing, is built on the backs of low-wage workers, too often working in deplorable conditions.
We have the power to influence change with our dollars. Four simple things we can do NOW:
1. Support fair-trade or union labels. You can find a listing of clothing lines with fair-trade labels at www.fairtradeUSA.org. My husband Michael, is a big fan of All American Clothing for his jeans.
2. Buy clothing made from organic cotton. Cotton farms are heavy on pesticides. Ninety-six percent of all cotton grown in the USA is genetically modified. Pesticide applications pollute, water, air and humans. And it kills microorganisms, diminishing the soils natural ability to absorb and retain water.
3. Buy used clothing. I am a big fan of consignment and thrift shops. All the outfits pictured above were found at a thrift store or consignment shop including the topaz color necklace.
4. Buy less. Only a small percentage of our collective wardrobe is recycled. And not all the clothes are ever worn again, instead many end up in a dumpster somewhere in the world.
Wear less water! There is power in the collective.