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Environmental Impact 

Water Consumption

It takes 2900 gallons of water to produce 1 pair of traditional jeans
It takes about 1500 gallons of water to produce enough cotton for 1 pair of jeans
How can you change this?
Look for denim that uses water recycling plants at the production facilities
Look for denim that uses more eco-friendly fibers, such as lyocel, linen, or recycled fabrics.

 

Pollution

Waste water is also a major issue with processing denim
After denim has gone through the washing process, toxic sludge is left and disposed of in unethical and unsustianble ways
They say in China you can tell the next trendy colour by looking at what colour the rivers are
A lot of greenhouse gasses are generated when going through the production, manufacturing, and transportation stages of a jean’s lifecycle

    How do we fix this?

    Buy brands that are disposing of waste in a humane manner such as turning old sludge into bricks that can be used for homes
    Buy brands that have clean energy running their production facility

    Chemicals and Toxicity

    Chemicals are one of the main components of our clothes
    Heavy use of chemicals causes massive freshwater and ocean pollution, as well as soil degradation, which poses great threat to global food security
    What can you do about it?
    Choose organic fibers and sustainbale brands

    Working Conditions

    Wages
     

    Many claim to pay the ‘minimum legal wage’ but what does this even mean?
    The minimum legal working wage in developing countries represents 1/5 to 1/2 of the living wage, meaning the bare mnimum someone requires for basic needs such as food and shelter

      Working Hours

      Garment workers are often forced to work 14-16 hour days, 7 days a week
      During peak seasons, workers might work until 3 a.m. trying to meet brands’ deadlines
      Basic wages are too low for them to refuse, besides the fact that they might get fired for refusing overtime
      In some cases, overtime is not even paid at all

        Health and Safety

        Garment workers tend to work with no ventilation, breathing in toxic substances, inhaling fiber dust or blasted sand in unsafe buildings
        Accidents, fires, injuries and disease happen very often in textile production facilities
        On top of this, many workers face verbal and physical abuse

          Forced Labor

          168 million children in the world are forced to work
          Because the fasion industry requires low-skill laborous jobs, child labor is particularly common in this industry
          Many cases of forced labor are also found along the supply chain
          For example, Uzbekistan’s government forces 1 million people to leave their regular jobs and harvest cotton during the autumn season, some of which are children taken out of school

            What can you do about this?

            Ask brands “Who made my clothes”
            It is important to buy from brands that are transparent throughout the entire production process
            If they do not disclose this information to you, chances are they don’t want you to find out what goes on behind those doors

             

            What Needs to Change

            Your Mindset
            In order to change the outcome of denim production, it needs to start at an individual level
            You need to think before you purchase and ask yourself: 
            Where was this made?
            Who was this made by and what were they paid?
            What affect did it’s productions have on this planet?
            Stop buying from fast fashion giants! You should always be thinking: 
            Buy Less
            Choose Well
            Make it last
            Be Curious
            In a world where big companies can cover their actions with more publicity stunts, it is important to ask questions and dig deeper. Knowledge is power people! The more you know about a company, the more you can make educated purchases.
            .
            Do Something
            We can change our mindsets and ask the questions, but doing something about it is the hardest part. Sustainability is a journey that looks very different for everyone. It can start with taking your old clothes to a donation center, or buying a good quality pair of jeans that will last you years instead of your $20.00 pair that barely lasted one season. For Ani, owner and founder of Simply Suzette, it started with buying her first pair of sustainable jeans and grew from there.
            .
            Learn more about the sustainable innovations being used in denim production today here.