Is Pakistan's Fashion Industry Favorable For The Environment?

As consumers worldwide buy more clothes, the growing market for cheap items and new styles is taking a toll on the environment

Is Pakistan's Fashion Industry Favorable For The Environment?
Picture Credit: BrandSynario

It’s no news flash that back in the early ’80s, fashion in the Pakistani industry was criticized in the international and local market. While some people did not have enough awareness to invest in high-end brands, others did not have the monetary advantage.

Discussing the fashion industry of Pakistan, let’s also not forget that the religious identity of Pakistani women has changed over time. Today, the perspective of international designers has changed and instead of the perception of bombs and burqas, we are considered as an evolved country. Says the make-up artist Adnan Ansari.

Commenting on the same topic, designer Fahad Hussyn stated that today we are looked at as a less conservative society as compared to 20 years ago.  Today young females are inclined towards fashion and there's no doubt that the definition of fashion is not restricted to just modern clothing but make-up and fragrances also play a pivotal role.

Amongst several reasons, a cause behind that is that women today are more educated, independent, and have socio-economic freedom.  Says the popular make-up artist Adnan Ansari.

Women have more fashion sense and TV, social media, and magazines play a key role in that. From Netflix to Amazon, women have more knowledge grasp towards the evolving trends of fashion. Whether you’re a 16-year-old girl or a 55-year-old woman, you know which brand has launched their attest lawn and luxury collection.

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There’s no surprise that in today’s age middle-class women have enough fashion sense,  are career-oriented, and have a higher expense power which also implies that they are independent are won’t rely on others to purchase the items that they desire.  Women today are driven and more open to new ventures to make money and be independent unlike 30 years ago when our grandmothers resorted to the earnings of their husbands and fathers.

Let us add that the change in fashion industry dynamics resulted in the induction of several international brands. A popular Spanish brand owns 1600 stores in 58 countries with a capacity of 450 million units of production, contributing more than 10000 unique designs every year to Pakistan. This is because there is the availability of purchase in Pakistan due to a boost in the country’s fashion industry.

While there’s a demand for trending items, open-minded women with strong buying power, and the evolving fashion industry – we also have a lot of cons to this. Today, it’s very easy to put on a new kurta and embroidered dupatta when stepping out that we never bother to even consider how that piece was created.

The fashion industry has a disastrous impact on the environment. It is the second-largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. Plus, the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows.

In most of the countries in which garments are produced, untreated toxic wastewaters from textiles factories are dumped directly into the rivers.

Wastewater contains toxic substances such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, among others. These are extremely harmful to the aquatic life and the health of the millions of people living by those river banks. The contamination also reaches the sea and eventually spreads around the globe.

Another major source of water contamination is the use of fertilizers for cotton production, which heavily pollutes runoff waters and evaporation waters. The fashion industry is also the second-largest consumer of water worldwide.

Clothing production has doubled today as compared to the year 2000 and there’s an increment of more than 60% of purchases which is the catch for the businesses but 85% of the total of its production repudiated into landfills.

As consumers worldwide buy more clothes, the growing market for cheap items and new styles is taking a toll on the environment. On average, people bought 60% more garments in 2014 than they did in 2000. Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams.

Moreover, a regular laundry cycle releases 500000 tons of microfibers (60% is polyester) into the sea on an annual basis which is equal to more than 45 billion plastic bottles. Do you see what we’re saying? So much wastage and damage solely because the masses crave the latest trends.

Let us add that the production of polyester is more than thrice of cotton production. (Reason, why polyester is dangerous: it doesn’t break down into oceans). Approximately, 700 gallons of water is required in the production one cotton shirts.

According to WWF Pakistan, the Textile industry is consuming water more than its requirement which resulted in more untreated polluted water into the sea. This issue has also highlighted by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association in 2017 but it is overlooked or ignored by the official bodies.

Now that we have established all the pros and cons of fashion, let us ponder over the solution that may help us make the situation better.

Recycling of the finished products can also leave a great impact on the betterment of the country. One must avoid throwing plastic bottles in the sea or on street. Wastage management can encore expenses in the balance sheet but will create a positive impact.

Celebs and social influencers can educate the audience about trash controlling as they are educating other several social issues but not showing (like it should be or other issues) the audience the most important factor which has a cost in our country’s balance sheet.

They can influence the textile producers as they have very limited options to have brand ambassadors (Pakistani market is not like the Indian market where social influencing is in control of tycoon)

We all must get together and look at the bigger picture. 

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