The fashion industry kills
By now, we all pretty much understand and know how damaging the fashion industry and mass production within it can be for the climate and our future. But what we seem to forget is how damaging fashion can also be for animals and their livelihoods.
One of the most significant contributors to this issue is fast fashion and its detriment to the Earth's ecosystem. Research has shown that the fashion industry is responsible for "2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions" which is the same quantity of GHGs per year as the entire economies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined.
The use of fast fashion threatens endangered species, and it's responsible for the destruction of habitats and trapping, farming, and skinning billions of animals every year. Even though some people may be aware of this, the overconsumption of fast fashion is still at an all-time high.
So what if you were introduced to a solution that enables you to keep wearing and posting current fashion trends on your social media without endangering the lives of your favourite animals?
Let me tell you about an NFT
If you'd have told me a few years ago I'd be able to download a digital dress whilst also conducting positive environmental change, I'd have looked at you baffled. But that's precisely what an NFT is. An NFT (non-fungible token) is a digital asset that represents a real-world object.
Noticing a gap in the market, various fashion brands have started to experiment with NFTs to digitally bring their creations to life. Blurring the line between physical and virtual, companies such as Nike created some NFT-based footwear, soon followed by '90s favourite Buffalo. They collaborated with The Fabricant to create their first digital-only shoe. The Fabricant then produced 'the world's first digital-only dress' which sold for a whopping $9500; the sale of the Fabricant-designed ‘Iridescence’ dress represents a landmark moment in digital-only couture. NFTs have also managed to infiltrate the jewellery and diamond industry, with high-end watchmaker and jeweller Jacob & Co. auctioning the world’s first NFT watch.
How can an NFT save animals?
Choosing to consume fashion digitally rather than physically will help combat the damaging effects of mass production and climate change, therefore protecting our favourite species in the process. In addition, it would encourage us to value the items we purchase as they're more unique and special, and in turn, hopefully, enable us to shop more consciously in the future.
NFTs have already started to positively impact other areas, such as opening up a conversation and targeting ethical issues within the diamond industry. For example, artist Sebastian ErraZuriz and his studio created a set of digital diamonds to purchase. This highlights the idea that fashion could also adopt such methods to help transform consumer values and behaviours.
This whole conversation has identified that there is a need for fashion brands to design and produce affordable NFTs that can be used via social media. This will help persuade consumers of fast fashion to opt for another solution when showing their followers their new pair of shoes on Instagram. But until they become more accessible, we need to think twice when purchasing a product online just because it's 'trendy' or 'cheap' and encourage ourselves and others to shop mindfully.
Educating ourselves further on the damaging effects of the fashion industry and how it affects animals and wildlife can also help keep us on the right track and correctly inform others how they can consume differently.
NFTs actively being used to combat climate change may seem out of reach at the moment for the everyday individual, whether that be because of costs or not enough people understanding them. But hopefully, soon, both brands and people will start to adopt this technology and make a step in the right direction for our animal friends and for us.