It Matters Where Fashion is Made: Why You Should Buy Clothing Closer to Where You Live - Oshki

It Matters Where Fashion is Made: Why You Should Buy Clothing Closer to Where You Live

Widespread environmental consciousness may be on the rise, but the fashion industry is under increasing scrutiny for its impact on the planet. As consumers become more aware of the environmental consequences of their purchases, the demand for sustainable fashion is at an all-time high. However, amidst the growing popularity of “eco-friendly” or sustainable fashion, there lies a dark truth of greenwashing – misleading tactics used by brands to appear sustainable while continuing harmful practices behind the scenes. 

In this blog, we'll delve into the illusion of sustainable fashion, the urgent need for genuine change, and why shopping closer to home can make a significant difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenwashing in Fashion

Greenwashing, the deceptive practice of making “eco-friendly” claims without substantiated evidence, has become rampant in the fashion industry. Many brands focus on superficial sustainability initiatives, such as reducing packaging waste, while ignoring the larger environmental impact of textile production. The reality is that textile production accounts for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions, yet brands often fail to address this core issue, and instead focus on making quick profits instead of long-term sustainability. If the fashion industry doesn't take real steps to fix its problems, greenwashing will keep deceiving consumers and slowing down efforts to protect the environment.

The Deceptive Myths 

One common greenwashing tactic is the misrepresentation of recycled polyester. While garments may be labeled as "recycled," there's often no clear criteria or evidence of true sustainability. Another common greenwashing tactic is packaging sustainability. From hangers to store shelves to shipping materials, fashion and retail’s shift away from plastic has been ongoing. But despite the shift away from traditional plastic packaging doesn’t mean that the solution is clear. Much of the flexible packaging and film utilized today cannot be recycled.  Globally, only about 9% of plastic waste is recycled, while 22% is mismanaged according to OECD’s Global Plastic Outlook report. The lack of circularity in the fashion system means that “recycled” polyester and plastic-free packaging may not be part of a truly sustainable cycle, and the reality of plastic recycling limitations further undermines the sustainability claims of these products. 

Fossil Fuels are a Blind Spot

And while efforts to utilize recycled polyester and reduce single-use plastics and packaging have gained traction, the fashion industry's reliance on fossil fuels remains largely unaddressed. Synthetic fiber production, which is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, contributes significantly to global oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Recent data found that the volume of seaborne trade has been showing a growing trend since 1990. Between 1990 and 2021, the volume of cargo transported by ships more than doubled, from four to nearly 11 billion tons.  The back-and-forth shipment of goods in overseas manufacturing contributes to unnecessary fossil fuel emissions and the production of greenhouse gasses. These emissions result in harmful air pollutants, acid rain, and damage to crops and wildlife. Moreover, the risk of oil spills during shipping poses a threat to water bodies, releasing toxic chemicals that contaminate groundwater. Despite all of this, policy measures and public attention often overlook the environmental impact of synthetic fashion and global shipping.

Transparency is key to holding fashion brands accountable for their environmental impact. Yet, many companies shroud their supply chain networks in secrecy, obscuring the true cost of their products. The Fashion Transparency Index 2021 revealed startling findings – while some brands disclose carbon emissions in their facilities, crucial information about processing, manufacturing, and raw materials remains concealed. Without transparency, the sustainability narrative risks being co-opted by fast fashion brands, further perpetuating greenwashing.

What Fashion Companies Must Do

The simple truth is that fast fashion will never be sustainable. Companies are virtually writing their own sustainable fashion rules themselves. To truly address the environmental impact of fashion, companies must take urgent action to reduce clothing production and seriously consider reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The textile industry is responsible for five to ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 85% of its greenhouse gas emissions come from the supply chains which are mostly located in the Global South.

By scaling back production volumes responsibly and sourcing and producing materials close to home — brands can mitigate their carbon footprint and minimize waste. Additionally, investing in sustainable alternatives and innovative practices can help reduce the industry's reliance on fossil fuels and minimize environmental harm.

Our Mission

At Oshki, sustainability isn't just a trend – it's at the heart of everything we do. As a brand committed to reducing our carbon footprint, we prioritize producing our products closer to home through a circular model. In a circular economy, resources are reused and the environment is regenerated through sustainable practices. This means that products and materials are constantly reused, repaired, recycled, or composted instead of being discarded after use. By separating economic growth from the depletion of limited resources, the circular economy tackles important global issues like climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. This approach, which also promotes renewable energy and materials, creates a resilient system that supports both businesses and the health of the environment and people.

By minimizing the use of fossil fuels in our manufacturing process, we strive to lead by example and inspire positive change in the fashion industry. Our mission goes beyond selling products – it's about shaping a more sustainable future for generations to come.

As a consumer, you have the power to drive meaningful change in the fashion industry. By educating ourselves about greenwashing, demanding transparency from brands, and supporting companies like Oshki that prioritize genuine sustainability, you can make a real difference in protecting the planet. 

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