April 13, 2021

Fast Fashion vs. Fair Fashion

The facts and figures are frightening. The fashion industry is – and very few people know this – the second largest polluter in the world. It is one of those industries in which consumption has grown rapidly in recent decades. About 60 percent more clothing was purchased in 2018 than in 2000! The life of a garment is short: 60 percent of all clothing is thrown away again within a year of its manufacture. In total, this amounts to almost 6 million tons of clothing per year in Europe alone. Next to a massive pile of garbage, fashion production makes up 10% of global carbon emissions and pollutes rivers and oceans with microplastics amongst other toxic chemicals. Moreover, it dries up water sources. The production of one cotton T-shirt consumes approximately 2,500 liters of water. That is roughly equivalent to 20 full bathtubs. This has consequences not only for our planet but also for our health especially for those who work in the textile factories.

These problems require massive changes. It is therefore important to raise awareness for the alternatives. Monika Langthaler, Director of the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative will shine a light on the issue of fair fashion and the power of consumers at the next AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT, which will take place in Vienna on July 1st. “We can all make a difference with our daily choices. There are already many options and we as consumers can help shape the world by making the right choices.”

Just a few examples: Buying sustainable, high-quality products, that will last for years instead of buying a new cheap shirt every few weeks is not only better for the environment, but also saves money in the long term. To identify these sustainable products, there are labels which help customers, such as GOTS or fairtrade. Fair fashion is becoming a trend and many upcoming fashion labels and brands are experimenting with new innovative materials and approaches. Another important factor is to look for other alternatives than always buying “new” clothes like secondhand shops or platforms for swapping and lending clothes and accessories. For good examples you can check out our latest fashion climate action stories at