The concept of ‘fast fashion’, a trend that surfaced almost 20 years ago, is one that we (both consumers and producers) should be paying more attention to.
Polyester has emerged as a leader in garment fabrics found in retail stores all over the world, used in almost 60% of new clothing found in stores. Polyester is relatively inexpensive and versatile, but not all that glitters is gold. There are some detrimental downsides to polyester that affect the environment, as well as the consumer:
- There are approximately 21.3 million tons of polyester on retail shelves today, a 157% increase since 2000. That’s 42,600,000,000 pounds.
- Producing enough fiber for a polyester t-shirt contributes more than twice the amount of CO2 than the equivalent amount of cotton.
- Polyester decomposes at a much slower rate than cotton and other natural fibers.
- Polyester retains more odors than cotton, which means it will need to be washed more.
- When laundering a single polyester fleece jacket, 1.7 grams of microfibers are released from the washing machine, 40% of these microfibers migrate into rivers, lakes, and streams.
- Microplastics and microfibers have also been found in marine species and abiotic ocean products that are directly consumed by humans.
Consumers are buying 60% more apparel since 2000, but only keeping them half as long; therefore the decision to reconsider the ingredients of fast fashion starts with the consumer. Surveys show that consumers prefer cotton to polyester:
- 3/5 consumers say that better-quality garments are made from cotton.
- 85% of consumers say cotton is safe for the environment, while only 51% can say the same for polyester.
Surely consumers that are sensitive to the environment and sustainability initiatives will become more informed, over time, about their garment choices and how they affect our world. While cotton has long been the consumer-preferred choice for apparel and the like, inevitably, the consumer will drive what fibers are used in their clothing. And in turn, questioning what fibers and environmental consequences come from their everyday products. Cotton is not only a better choice for the health of the end-user, but also for worldwide environmental sustainability.
In addition to clothing, there is also a demand for 100% cotton in other product categories:
- Tampons, pads, and pantyliners
- Cosmetic, salon, and spa supplies
- Medical-grade cotton wipes, face masks, and gauze
Incorporating Barnhardt Purified Cotton in everyday products ensures that you’re using the cleanest, most pure cotton on the market. We pioneered the 12 Hour Purification Process and fully implement it into every bale produced, committing ourselves to providing the highest-quality cotton.
These statistics were found from The Robin Report in Preference for Polyester May Make Fast Fashion Brands Vulnerable, an article written by James Pruden, Senior Director of Public Relations for Cotton Incorporated.