How is fashion causing damage to our oceans?
The fashion industry plays a significant role in damaging the oceans with harmful chemicals and plastics that aren’t reusable. Most notably in “fast fashion”, where a consumer can easily buy items/products for a low cost. However, when clothes are made without sustainability and the circular fashion in mind, the materials and chemicals make their way into the ocean, damaging the water and the animals that live it.
The problem with microfibres
Microfibres are tiny little fabrics of plastics that get released from clothing when they are washed. Water filters aren’t strong enough to filter out these fibres, so they end up being released into the ocean. Sea animals end up digesting a lot of the plastic which is not only harmful to them, but humans as well. Humans are large consumers of fish, seaweed, and lots of other sea creatures and plants, and these harmful chemicals not only pollute and litter our oceans but become part of the food chain, too. Although the picture is bleak, some brands have stepped up and taken initiative to protect our oceans, sea animals, and the environment.
An American company that sells outdoor attire, which was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973. The brand is highly active in investing and working towards making the planet and environment healthier. They support organisations such as “1% for the Planet” (whose members contribute 1% of their revenue, which counts towards making the environment and oceans better). They also financially support organisations such as “All One Ocean” and “The Ocean Blue Project” by giving them grants. They take a lead role in being sustainable by making sure their product packaging is reusable, and recycled plastic and reusing fishing nets to make some of their products.
Recognised worldwide, they work with organisations to protect the oceans and to be sustainable. The brand works with “Parley for the Oceans” (an organisation who raise awareness and take initiative for our oceans). adidas worked with Parley in 2015, using washed up plastics from the oceans and finishing nets, which then adidas reused and turned into yarn to make their signature products. The brand has also taken action in-stores with the ban of single-use plastics in their products.
They became popular and widely used in the ’10s. The brand works with “Oceana”, which is one of the world’s biggest non-profit environment protection organisations to restore and preserve the oceans and to protect the animals and marine life. More recently, Toms are working with a brand named “Outerknown” – a sustainable brand that aims to protect the ocean. Their collaboration features a sandal series that’s made from unwanted algae from the ocean.
Co-founded by pro-surfing legend Kelly Slater, this sustainable brand is highly committed to protecting the environment and oceans. They design beachwear and 90% of their products are recycled, regenerated, or organic. 100% of their swimming trunks are made with recycled and renewable fibres, a very effective method in stopping microfibres from entering the ocean. All of these brands have recognised the harmful and detrimental effects that fashion can cause to our oceans. They have taken initiative and action to persevere and protect the ocean and its marine life for a healthier environment.