Due to the exponential growth of the fast fashion industry, and clothing being manufactured, purchased, and discarded more quickly than ever before, alarming amounts of clothing are ending up in landfills each year.
In 2015, the average US citizen “generated 82 pounds of textile waste each year, adding up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste each year”. And according to a Newsweek article written on the subject, this figure had increased to 14 million tons of clothing waste generated from the United States in 2016 each year. That’s a 27% increase in clothing waste in only one year.
Donating clothes to charitable organizations or selling them to thrift stores has been presented as a solution to prevent the transportation of clothing to landfills, but it isn’t a flawless system. A prime example of this is The Trans-Americas Trading Co., a company operating out of New York City, which receives “about 80,000 pounds of clothing a day”. But out of all the clothes received, only a meager two percent will be resold in thrift stores, and forty percent will be shipped around the globe to be sold elsewhere. The remaining 58 percent are turned into rags or insulation, or dumped in the nearest landfill. So really, all these hours of labor are only postponing the imminent disposal of these clothes.
The ultimate achievement for transforming fashion into a more sustainable industry would be to optimize it until it reaches closed-loop manufacturing, where we “reuse old materials. Make new materials out of old materials. Recapture the fibers”. In other words, recycle the clothes that we would otherwise throw into landfills, and create new garments using those fibers. This solution cuts down on the costs of farming and creating new textiles, as well as the strain clothing places on landfills.
Theoretically, this would be done in a way which would produce no waste, where all the fibers would be reused. Sadly, according to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, commercially stable closed-loop technology is at least fifteen to twenty years away. Despite these bleak predictions, companies have been attempting to recycle clothing brought in by customers, as well as funding research for textile recycling technology. But the catch is that due to the limitations of current fabric recycling technology, “Only 0.1 percent of all clothing collected by charities and take-back programs is recycled into new textile fiber”. There is clearly a long way to go before any real impact is made to reduce the environmental impact created by fast fashion, as far as closed-loop technology is concerned.
Thankfully, fast fashion brands aren’t the only players in the fashion industry. There are other, more sustainable brands that are trying to make a case for a new way of interacting with fashion. “Buying less, buying better, buying authentic”, is how it’s being phrased. Instead of buying cheaper, hastily made, synthetic, fast fashion, brands and consumers have started seeing the value in owning fewer, higher quality, classic, timeless garments. By purchasing our clothes in a more mindful way, we are able to reduce a lot of the environmental and social impacts associated with the fast fashion industry; such as the improper disposal of toxic chemicals, the carbon footprint associated with shipping and transportation, the inhuman working conditions found in sweat shops, the harmful farming techniques used to keep up with the cotton demands of the market and the landfills overflowing with clothing.
Miriam Baker is one of these brands. We care about creating high quality, elegant and timeless garments that you’ll be able to keep forever, and we keep that in mind whenever we create a new line. With our studio located in Toronto, we are also able to closely monitor every step in the manufacturing process to ensure that these standards are met.
Another way we keep all these promises is by avoiding senseless mass production. We cut, sew, and package your piece right after your order comes in - mindfully crafting each garment - and strive to create less material waste than mass producing and stocking garments. This is why we ask for two weeks from the day you place your order to the day you receive it. We’ve put a lot of thought and care into all of our garments because creating a more sustainable fashion industry is important to us, and because we know you care, too.
Miriam Baker is proud to bring you this blog post. We design clothes for women with fuller busts in the heart of downtown Toronto. If you would like to learn more about the brand and the designer behind it, read Meet the Designer for more insight, or sign up to our newsletter for new drops, offers and events. Please contact us at email@example.com with any stories of your own that are pertinent to our mission or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We would love to hear from you!