We know that the fashion industry is one of the top polluters in the world, emitting around 10% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions. Global scientists agree that the threat of climate change is not looming, but already here. The latest IPCC report (International Panel on Climate Change) called for the "final warning" to drastically reduce global emissions in order to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.
While the fashion industry is not the only perpetrator, we know it is a massive contributor to climate change and must take accountability for its part. The industry must take huge steps in reducing its emissions, tackling pollution, and eradicating exploitative labor practices in order to combat the climate crisis and promote an equitable future. As of March 2023, the UN calls for the fashion industry to act now, act swiftly and take great, collective strides towards change. Despite the large role that the fashion industry plays in the problem, it’s important to acknowledge the power that the industry has in shaping and catalyzing positive change. As a vessel of creative expression and art that transcends all differences, the fashion industry has a unique opportunity to unite people across divisions and create true collection action towards a sustainable future.
This Earth Week we chatted with our Wolven team about why they believe in the possibility of fashion as a force for good. Here’s what they had to say…
Amanda, Co-Founder, Sustainability & Graphic Design Manager – "I believe sustainable fashion can be a powerful force for change because as a form of expression and art, fashion attracts so many unique people. Sustainable fashion has the power to reach a wide range of people who can be a part of making an impact and promoting creative solutions. Just as everyone has their own fashion sense — everyone can also be an activist.”
June, COO – “Sustainable fashion isn't just an idea or a trend - it's a necessity. Fashion is the sixth biggest polluter and it's in need of reform, the same way that energy (e.g. solar, wind, etc.), transportation (e.g. hybrids, EV's, etc.) and agriculture / food retail (e.g. organic, meatless, etc.) are making progress.”
Dasha, Marketing Coordinator – “We take so much away from our planet on a daily basis, that it is the least I can do to not take more from it. Sustainable and slow fashion is a system that reuses what already exists. Having a sustainable closet makes me feel like a better earthling and I love that I can make a small difference there.”
Jordan, Social Media Coordinator — “The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution and waste so if I can do my part in reducing this I'll always try my best! The plus side to sustainable fashion is that it often involves fair labor practices and supports ethical working conditions so by shopping sustainably, you can help support companies that prioritize workers' rights and well-being. I also love the idea of giving clothing a second life."
Brandon, Warehouse Manager – “Before working for Wolven I was working for a fast fashion clothing brand. I would work closely with the fabric cutter & clothing designer, shifting to Wolven definitely opened my eyes on realizing much waste is produced by creating fast fashion pieces, while much less is used in sustainable items. Sustainable fashion is not only better quality, but creates a better quality of life.”
Leylanni, Fulfillment & Customer Service – “Being sustainable is a lifestyle you adapt to by choice -- It is your contribution to help eliminate waste and recycle materials to create new items. Eliminate them from ending up in landfills, unlike fast fashion consumerism. It can be a force for good inspiring a global initiative to be cautious about the things we purchase and to whom it benefits.”
Genica, Customer Service Manager – “I believe in supporting sustainable fashion so we can contribute to a more sustainable future by reducing our own environmental footprint and supporting companies that prioritize social and environmental responsibility as I also believe that the fashion industry is one of the biggest contributing factors to world pollution. The production of clothing involves the use of large amounts of natural resources, including water, energy, and raw materials, and generates a significant amount of waste and pollution, so, let's go for sustainable fashion!”
Ella, Sustainability & Marketing Intern – “Clothes are something that we all wear every day. While everyone has their own unique relationship with clothing through their culture, style and accessibility, fashion is something that everyone in the world engages with. I think that we often fail to see the interconnectedness of our clothing, from the people who grow fibers, to those who spin them into fabric and those who then sew it all together – and the impacts on the environment each step of the way. It’s ever more important to bring a new awareness to this interconnectedness, and to use these connections to do good for both people and the planet. Because of these connections, sustainable fashion has the power to create this change across the globe.”
Ashley, Graphic Design Intern “Sustainable fashion is a great way to help our environment as well as the people who work to produce certain items. Being mindful of our environment is very important and by having sustainable fashion, we can start to help for good.”
Monse, Social Media Intern - “A few years ago I came across the horrors of the fast fashion industry and it was something I instantly knew I could no longer support. As a fellow earth lover, it’s terrifying to see the effects over consumption and mass production have on our planet and that’s why I always stick to more conscious choices. Whether it’s thrifting, mending, or supporting sustainable and local shops I make sure I’m making a difference in my everyday choices.”
With all that we know about climate change and the fashion industry, it’s hard not to become discouraged. But we also know that positive change is happening everyday, everywhere and on every level – whether that’s individual, brand, corporate, community, national, international and global. There are so many ways to come together around fashion and generate sustainable initiatives and movements. How do you think fashion can be a force for good?
Written By: Ella Johnson
Ella Johnson is a Public Affairs student at UCLA, also studying Global Studies and Environmental Systems and Society. She is a longtime advocate for sustainable and ethical fashion and tries to live her life with the planet always in mind. She is an LA native, and loves the beach, yoga, the color orange and her dog, Kona.