United States

The Bay Area's New Fashion Trend: Fighting Climate Change

Could our clothes be bad for the planet?

Take into consideration the following about the relationship between the environment and what we wear:

  • 32 billion garments are made every year in the United States;
  • most are shipped, which puts more emissions in the air;
  • and, in the end, 64% of them will end up in landfill.

But there's hope thanks to fashion, climate-conscious thrifters and companies.

"The fashion industry itself emits more carbon than maritime shipping and international flights combined," said Andrea Plell, co-founder for Sustainable Fashion Alliance in San Francisco.

Plell founded the alliance to try and change the way we look at clothes.

Companies like Thredup, which let you browse and shop for used clothing are on board.

Erin Wallace, Thredup's brand director, said the company processes 100,000 items a day, largely through its online store because thrifting is catching on.

Another way is to make clothing with fewer materials.

Denim Unspun does that with technology and uses a scanner to get a customer's perfect fit. The end product is also made of recycled materials.

According to the Sustainable Fashion Alliance, of which ThredUp is a member, if each of us got one recycled outfit a year, instead of a new one, we would eliminate the equivalent of 6 billion pounds of carbon emissions. That's the equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road for an entire year.

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