How to shop for clothes responsibly
On the whole, the fashion industry as we know it is an environmental nightmare. In 2018, it was responsible for the emissions of 2.31 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as extensive water pollution from textile dyeing and plastic microfibers. In the US, around 85% of textile waste ends up in landfills or incinerated, per data from the Environmental Protection Agency. This is to say nothing of the lasting social implications of the system, which sees developing nations saddled with the harmful effects of waste and cheap labor.
Though some fashion brands are slowly changing their practices and messaging to sell clothes to more conscientious consumers, shopping less and buying with a mindset toward longevity -- keeping your clothes for as long as possible -- is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your own contribution. According to a 2017 report from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a UK charity that helps companies and communities act more sustainably, wearing a garment for just nine months longer can substantially reduce its carbon footprint.