Sample Ethics Essay Paper on Sustainability and Fashion

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Each stage of a garment’s life puts a strain on the planets resources thus threatening these resources. For example, it takes approximately 20,000 liters of water to produce a single kilogram of cotton (Herthorn and Connie, 20). One kilogram of cotton is equivalent to one pair of jeans and one t-shirt. Therefore, the fashion industry has a responsibility to ensure sustainability in the planet. Sustainability is the ability to meet current needs without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The fashion industry is responsible for the use of various natural resources including but not limited to animal hides, sheep wool, water, and cotton wool among other natural resources. Additionally, during the production process from raw material to the final product, a lot of chemicals are used. The fashion industry continues to grow every day and thus there is an increase in demand for the raw materials used to produce garments. This means that there is also an increase in discarded clothes. Discarded clothes pollute the aesthetics of the environment while adding chemicals to soil and water resources. As one of the biggest markets in the world, the fashion industries is obligated to protect the environment to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same resources without trouble.

            During the creation of clothing, a lot of material is cut and thrown away as waste. The same material that used gallons of water to produce is thrown away to waste. Throwing away a piece of garment because it does not fit a fashionable purpose is equivalent to leaving a tap flowing. The fashion designer might not get the water bill but the damage has already been done. To avoid this wastage of natural resources, fashion designers need to come up with new and effective ways of creating clothing without or with minimal wastage of garments. Turning to technology is the easiest way around this problem. With the customer’s measurements, it is possible to program the measurements in a 3D whole-garment machine that will create clothing without wastage. While this concept is very favorable, it cannot be implemented if fashion designers are not aware of their impact in the society. It is vital to introduce education for sustainability in fashion design schools so as to create awareness among fashion design students. In so doing, fashion designers will be aware of the negative impact of their actions and as a result come up with new ideas that will cause the environment less harm or no harm at all.

            Production of fabrics involves the use of machinery that release toxic fumes into the atmosphere. Toxic fumes include Green House Gases that lead to the depletion of the Ozone layer. The ozone layer protects Ultra Violent rays from penetrating the atmosphere. Air pollution by Green House Gases creates hole in the Ozone layer thus allowing the UV rays to reach the earth’s surface. UV rays are dangerous to the skin of human beings as they are known to cause non-melano skin cancer (Herthorn and Connie, 87). The beautiful pair of jeans you are wearing today could cause skin cancer to your great granddaughter. Is it really worth it? Green House Gases are also responsible for global warming. These gases trap heat within them preventing it from escaping the atmosphere. The resulting factor from this occurrence is the increase in global temperatures. Global warming results in melting of polar ice which in turn leads to the displacement of polar bears and penguins (Herthorn and Connie, 98). Global warming also results in inconsistent rain patterns that sometimes lead to drought in agricultural zones. All these for a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts. The impact of the fashion industry on the global environment is tremendously fatal and requires to be rectified.

            Mass production in the fashion industry is the number one threat to sustainability. The answer to this problem is reducing the production of garments. However, with the increase in population, reducing production of garments is not practical. The increase in population demands for an increase in the production of garments to solve growing demand for clothing. The solutions to this problem are reuse and recycle (Muthu and Miguel, 13). Designers can and should reuse redundant material instead of ordering new material. Not all clothing that is designed gets into the hands of the consumer. Some are left unsold. Instead of discarding these pieces of clothing and causing a landfill, designers should use their innovation to put the material of the clothing into good use. Re-use is not only possible at the designer level. Designers should campaign to ensure that customers re-use clothing before throwing them away. For example, the fashion industry should launch campaigns that encourage the passing over of clothes. While this might mean a reduction in business, it is for the greater good as it ensures sustainability of the environment. Recycling garments and fabrics is equally important. Designer should apply their innovation and new ideas to turn used garments and clothes into new pieces of clothing. In so doing, the fashion designers will have filled the demand gaps while causing minimal production of garments.

            The fashion industry uses a lot of natural resources from water to plants to animals. The rapid growth in the industry has caused an increase in demand for these natural resources. Fur coats are made from the skin of domestic and wild animals. Though it might not necessarily contribute to extinction, the fashion industry is responsible for the decrease in the number of animals. An increase in demand for wool causes farmers to increase the number of sheep to meet the growing demand for wool. This puts a strain in natural resources such as grass that are food to the sheep (Muthu and Miguel, 13). An increase in demand for wool, animal hide and other animal products may lead to an overgrazing problem which causes environmental degradation. With increased population, there is a growing concern regarding the sustainability of water resources. The production of garments from raw material to the final product uses a lot of water. Water preservation is at the heart of global sustainability. Water is life and as such, the fashion industry should ensure that minimal water is used during the production of garment.

            The fashion industry is one of the most important global economies. It has employed millions of people and contributed to the growth of global communities. However, the growth of the fashion industries is causing environmental harm that will definitely harm future generations. It is therefore the responsibility of the fashion industry to ensure effectiveness that will reduce its negative impact on the environment. The fashion industry can ensure sustainability through creating awareness among fashion designers, ensuring minimal wastage during production of garments, through recycling and reuse, and through minimal exploitation of natural resources. The world is an interconnected ecosystem and our negative impacts on the environment will sooner or later catch up with us-they already are.

Work Cited

Hethorn, Janet, and Connie Ulasewicz. Sustainable Fashion: What’s Next? : a Conversation             About Issues, Practices and Possibilities. , 2015. Print.

Muthu, Subramanian S, and Miguel A. Gardetti. Sustainable Fibres for Fashion Industry:             Volume 1. , 2016. Internet resource.