AST: Are My Clothes Killing Me? 

Atlanta Science Tavern, May 20th, 2023

We have all been guilty, at one point or another, of updating our wardrobe when the seasons turn and store displays show tantalizing are updated with new collections. The hunt for trendy outfits that are not excessively costly, as with designer brands, has added fuel to the fire of the Fast Fashion industry. While this might feel like a win-win for both industry and consumer, this practice has become one of the biggest environmental concerns of our time. Tanjuria Willis, founder of Atlanta Sustainable Fashion Week, talked about the problems with fast fashion at a recent Atlanta Science Tavern. Here are the highlights.

What are the impacts of Fast Fashion?

  • It is the second most polluting industry, after oil production
  • Contributes to 10% of global carbon emissions – 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2
  • Causes 20% of global wastewater and contributes 35% of microplastics in the ocean
    • It takes ~2000 gallons of water to produce only one pair of jeans!
  • 85% of materials used in clothes production end up in landfills
  • Only 1% of the clothes produced are recycled into new garments
  • Use toxic chemicals to produce and treat fabrics
    • Flame retardants, PFAS, lead, chromium, and others.

What steps can I take?

  • Buy less toxic clothing – avoid fabrics such as polyester, rayon, acrylic, nylon, and acetate
  • Buy used clothing
  • Take care of your clothing– hang dry your clothes rather than putting them in the dryer
  • Buy eco-friendly fabrics – much like buying food – if you can pronounce the ingredients – it’s probably better for the environment and you
  • Use eco-friendly detergents and fabric softeners
  • Use eco-friendly dry cleaning

Full Video

Have you ever heard the term ‘Beauty is Pain’?  Have you ever suspected that the sweater you put on could give you a cold, rash or something even worse?  You may be a fashion victim.  The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to global warming creating greenhouse gas emissions that exceed both aviation and shipping.  Textile pollution is the #2 pollutant to the landfill only next to oil.   We will discuss the costs of fashion and how our clothing choices may be killing us by digging into the difference between fast and slow fashion as well as solutions on what we can do differently.

Tanjuria Willis is the Founder and creative force behind Atlanta Sustainable Fashion Week (ATSFW), and Owner of eKlozet Luxury Consignment Boutique.

In 2014, Tanjuria pursued her passion for both fashion and entrepreneurship by opening a luxury consignment boutique, eKlozet.  eKlozet leverages fashion to help women embrace their beautiful, both inside and out.  She has styled Emmy Award winners, actors, actresses and business executives.

She was a finalist for a Moxie Award, a member of the Female Founder Collective, a graduate of the 2020 City of Atlanta Women Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) Cohort, a graduate of the first City of Atlanta Office of International Affairs Women Export University Cohort and a mentor for Girl Scouts Camp CEO.

Her work with eKlozet motivated her to give the issue of landfill waste a platform via fashion and in 2021 founded Atlanta Sustainable Fashion Week focused on eco-friendly lifestyle brands.

Tanjuria graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. 

She is married to her best friend, Greg and has one daughter and a bonus son.

Resources

https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/fashion/overview

https://theroundup.org/why-is-fast-fashion-bad/

https://earth.org/fast-fashions-detrimental-effect-on-the-environment/

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20230524IPR91913/parliament-wants-to-make-eu-textiles-and-clothing-industry-greener

https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/03/1035161

https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/environmental-costs-fast-fashion

https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/sustainability/our-insights/style-thats-sustainable-a-new-fast-fashion-formula

Updated on October 15, 2023

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