By Anika Kozlowski, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design, Ethics and Sustainnability, School of Fashion, Ryerson University. First published on The Conversation.
Recently Zara introduced a sustainability pledge. But how can Zara ever be sustainable? As the largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, they produce around 450 million garments a year and release 500 new designs a week, about 20,000 a year. Zara’s fast-fashion model has been so successful it has inspired an entire industry to shift — churning out an unprecedented number of fashion garments year-round.
We live in an era of hyper-consumption in the middle of a climate crisis.
Clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014. The average consumer bought 60 per cent more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment half as long. Apparel consumption is projected to to rise by 63 per cent in the next 10 years. And less than one per cent of all clothing produced globally is recycled.
With production numbers like these, can any fast-fashion retailer claim sustainability?