Fashion and climate change 

Making more sustainable fashion choices

Fashion and climate change

Fashion and climate are joined at the hip. Whether it’s during the manufacturing, in the supply chain or at the point of disposal, all along the way there’s an impact on the environment. That’s why there’s a growing focus on fashion that’s more sustainable and greater scrutiny of so called ‘fast fashion’. 

The good news is there are simple things we could all do to reduce the climate impact of our clothing and possibly save money too.

How does fashion impact the climate?

What is fast fashion?

What is the problem with fast fashion?

Five tips to make more sustainable fashion choices

Ideas to reduce, reuse and recycle


How does fashion impact the climate?

Here are some examples of fashion's impact on the climate

of global carbon emissions come from the clothing industry

of fabric creates 23kg of greenhouse gases

of industrial water pollution comes from textile manufacturing

1.5 trillion
litres of water are used every year in the fashion industry

What is fast fashion?

It tends to refer to clothes that closely follow the latest trends, are produced quickly and often at low cost to the consumer. This impacts the environment in several ways.

What is the problem with fast fashion?

High carbon footprint

To keep costs low, clothes are often produced in countries with lower wages, that rely heavily on fossil fuels and that are far away from the consumer. This means that there's a carbon footprint associated with transporting the clothes, as well as during the manufacturing process.

Short life span causing more waste

Although this can also be said of lots of clothing, the lower price and fashionable nature can mean people are willing to keep the clothes for a relatively short time. So, a lot of energy has gone into something that may have a short life.

Five tips for making more sustainable fashion choices

  1. 01

    Try to buy only what you need. Fashion trends can change quickly, and sales may be tempting, but sticking to what you need means you'll buy new clothes less often and have less waste to deal with in future.

  2. 02

    Research brands first, or check their labels, to see how sustainable they are. For example, are they made from recycled fabric or are the materials organic.

  3. 03

    Why buy new clothes? Charity shops can be a great way to find unique clothes and usually at a big discount on the new price. You'll also be contributing to a worthwhile cause. While you're there, why not donate clothes you no longer wear.

  4. 04

    If you need something for a special occasion, you can always hire it. You'll avoid wasting money on something you might never wear again.

  5. 05

    Tired of something? There are lots of websites or groups that connect people who have clothes they want to swap.

Top tips for reducing, reusing and recycling

While it’s easy to point to our homes or travelling as potentially the largest contributors to our carbon footprints, our smaller everyday choices could also have an impact.