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Fast fashion, sustainable fashion are new words that have appeared in our common vocabulary in recent years. But in fact what is hidden behind these words? Out of fast fashion, long live sustainable fashion, some would say! Is it that easy? Where we are? We reveal everything to you here.
Fast fashion defines the production of clothing in large quantities and at low prices.
This phenomenon has accelerated exponentially in recent years.
For centuries, clothes were created by hand and defined a person's social status.
But this function of clothing gradually disappeared thanks to the appearance of the sewing machine in 1830 during the Industrial Revolution. Mass consumption has made clothing simpler and accessible to everyone.
This new method of production was fast, profitable but already very polluting because of the excessive use of chemical substances and water. These manufacturing methods have hardly changed since.
Moreover, due to the increase in the world's population, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world!
Researchers have analyzed the entire life cycle of a garment and have shown that each manufacturing step has an environmental impact. Whether from the transformation of raw materials to the end of the product's life.
Raw materials
– The manufacture of jeans requires 7,500 liters of water. Water is necessary at all stages of production: watering the cotton, application of dyes and chemical substances, pre-washing, etc.
According to Le Monde, the amount of water needed to make jeans would represent the equivalent of the amount of water drunk by a man for 7 years!
– In addition to cotton, oil is just as polluting. It is used to create the polyester found in fast fashion sweatshirts and coats.
In 2015, 48 million tons of polyester were created. Cheaper and more resistant than cotton, it is however not renewable.
– The fashion industry also produces significant greenhouse gas emissions due to the transport of products.
Chemical products
All of today's clothing contains chemicals. These chemicals all serve a different purpose: biocides to prevent mold, coloring agents, antibacterial agents and more.
These products are harmful to the human body and can cause more or less severe allergies. Phthalate, latex or nickel are chemical substances that are extremely dangerous for our health, but are indeed present in our clothes.
The washing exercised during the manufacturing process or after purchase of the garment is very polluting. It leads to water and soil pollution.
Chemicals in textile fibers are released into the oceans and take decades to degrade.
Have you wondered about the origin of your clothes? It is very difficult to give a precise answer to this question. Indeed it is not enough to know who sewed the garment but where all the parts that make it up come from.
There are so many stakeholders in the production of a t-shirt that it is difficult to determine precisely its country of origin. This amplifies the negative environmental impact of the fashion industry.
The fashion industry today is very controversial and many actors are trying to remedy this. Many brands aware of their ecological impact have decided to unite to act around common objectives.
Thirty-two French textile companies signed the “Fashion Pact” in August 2019. Their objective ? Achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Another ambitious recent commitment is that of Kering. The French luxury group has launched, in collaboration with Conservation International, the Regenerative Fund for Nature. The objective is to convert within five years 1 million hectares of farms and landscapes, linked to the production of raw materials for fashion, into spaces for regenerative agriculture.
This fund will directly help farmers by financing various projects in different countries. The priority for the group is “to increase the quality and quantity of regenerative natural raw materials available for the luxury and fashion sector”.
You will find the first beneficiaries of the Regenerative Fund for Nature here.

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