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The Price of Fast Fashion and The Future of Clothes

Dana Thomas

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In 1990, well over half the clothes bought in the US were made in the US. By 2012 that was down to 2.5%. In the same period, the US textile and garment industry lost 1.2 million jobs (ie 3/4 of workforce) .

Second casualty was human rights. Fashion employs 1 in 6 workers globally (bc it is labour intensive). Only 2% earn a living wage.

Third victim is environment. Sector is responsible for 20% of water pollution. A kg of cloth generates 23kg of greenhouse gases.

2011 Patagonia ran an ad in NYT "Don't buy this jacket" - a zip-up fleece, the production of which required 135 litres of water (enough to meet the daily needs of 45 people) - as part of a campaign to get people to buy less clothes. But message fell on deaf ears - remember Melania Trump's "I Don't Care, Do You?" jacket?

2014 100 billion garments made - ie 14 for every person on the planet.

On any given day, half the world's popn is wearing jeans. Five billion pairs made every year. The average American buys four new pairs a year.

Jeans are 100% cotton. To grow a kilo of cotton takes 10,000 litres of water. Another 20,000 litres to produce one Tshirt and one pair of jeans.

American cotton is anywhere between 95% and 100% (Georgia) genetically engineered.

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