Have you ever thought about just how much goes into your wardrobe? Not just about how many pieces you have, but what actually went into producing them?
Today's post is something of a thought experiment, I want to get thinking about how much goes into making the clothes in our wardrobes, from the CO2 and waste produces, to the water used. This is something that is incredible varied dependent on fabrics used, manufacturing techniques and where the clothes travel to be produces and can even vary based on light-bulbs used in the factories. But even without taking every little detail into consideration and just looking at generalised figures it's actually shocking how much goes into just one piece of non-sustainable clothing.

And these this production isn't taken into account in our emission figures here in the west either. Over two thirds of emissions produced by clothing bought and used in the UK are produces overseas. THe pollution caused by the fashion industry is a global problem that is fulled by people in rich countries buying clothes produces in poorer countries, usually bought without any through to the environment or the people producing the clothes.

I read through a fair few research papers trying to get the figures to write this post and if I did take every factor that plays a part in water use, CO2 and waste production I'd be writing a whole research part myself. So the numbers below are just to give a rough estimate, they're from a few different sources (linked at the end) and can vary massively depending on where you're buying from and what material you are buying. Oh and I realised just as I finished all of these that I wrote CO2 used which isn't strictly correct but you understand what I've saying.
But what does this all actually mean? Yeah those are big numbers but they don't mean anything by themselves.
What can you do with 1kg of CO2?
- Power the average house for 40 minutes
- Watch a 42 inch TV for 6 hours
- Leave a light-bulb on for 3 days 
- Drive in a car for 2 minutes

What can you do with 1000 Litres of water?
- Have a 15 minute shower
- Make 175 pints of beer
- Grow 1kg of apples
- Use a hosepipe for an hour
- Have drinking water for 3.8 years
I hope that puts it into some sort of context, I was seriously surprised at just how much goes into clothing production, especially how much water is used. And that's just the tip of the iceberg when you also look at other pollution produced, and consider that fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world. And then there's all the waste produced and water used when washing clothing but that's for another day.

But if you want to reduce the impact your wardrobe has on the environment there are things you can do! From cutting down the amount you buy, buying from brands with sustainable practices, second hand. Buying second hand and buying clothes for the long term has a huge impact. Using a t shirt for a month and throwing it away can produce 550% more carbon dioxide than if you were to use that same shirt for a year, that's a lot of %.

And by new approaches to emission, and making practices more sustainable and environmentally conscious the fashion industry could go a long way towards reducing it's negative impact, and a lot of that starts with consumers choosing to support sustainable practices and brands. I hope this post has given you an idea of just what goes into your wardrobe, maybe give it a go of adding up all of your pieces and see how much water was used and how much CO2 was produced in making your wardrobe.

Sources for figures in this post (and a few interesting reads): 1  2  3  4  5  6