Fashion, a tricky world with its own secrets

The fashion industry sends dreams, and that’s its very function. With great publicity, even greenwashing, it tries to conceal as much as possible what is hidden behind the scenes, in production workshops, or even the foregoing. Here are 3 great ideas to keep in mind when shopping for textiles.

Most textiles contain toxic chemicals

Lead, dyes harmful to water and skin, phthalates … Textiles, especially clothing, often contain toxic chemicals. This concerns most major clothing chains: Zara, American Apparel, Disney, Adidas, Burberry, Primark, GAP, Puma, C & A, Nike, H & M, etc. This prompted the NGO Greenpeace to denounce this state of affairs through its Detox campaigns, denouncing the toxic and pushing the brands to give up. Greenpeace teams had analyzed dozens of clothes from 29 different countries. And found traces of toxic substances for the environment and for health.

Textile industry: child labor is not a myth

The textile industry is not a single block: for a given brand hide several factories and for each pole we often have subcontractors, possibly and even commonly abroad, sometimes in shameful conditions. According to author Lucy Siegle, who devoted a book to the question1, this still represents 20 to 60% of clothing production. The author also explains that there are almost systematic cases. The application of sequins, or beadwork, for example, is very expensive for companies, who have to buy dedicated machines. Instead of buying these machines, companies often prefer to assign this task to homeworkers in the poorest areas of the world. This represents millions of workers. Not to mention the children who often help these workers.

Quality is reduced so that we buy more

One of the problems related to this outsourcing is the quality: finishes, seams, even fibers. The line of conduct of the big clothing chains is not the quality, but the quantity: we consider for example that an average American throws more than 50 kilos of textiles a year, directly in the trash not to mention the other ways reuse. It is certainly a problem of pollution related to the unconsciousness of the consumer, driven to ever more consumption by brands: if clothes tear, break or degrade, the consumer will actually tend to throw, especially that textile recycling is not well developed everywhere (for France, see networks like EcoTLC). If we throw a garment, we will tend to replace it: it’s good, the new collections are made for that!