Fashion Consciousness: Fashion Taking Steps Towards Water Conservation
Traveling to the east coast from the west coast last week, I was greeted with five days of continuous rain. It started in North Carolina and followed me to Philadelphia. Traveling back to the west, I had a layover in Chicago and while there my flight was delayed due to more rain. Once I officially landed on the west coast, clear skies and warm weather embraced me.
“It never rains in Southern California,” artist Tony! Toni! Tone! sings, proclaiming California’s perfect weather. While the musical artist view California’s lack of rain as cup half-full, the cup half-empty version of that scenario means severe drought. Into its fourth year, California is experiencing one of its most severe drought. According to U.S Drought Monitor, the intensity level of California’s drought is at its most intense level. Most of California is experiencing exceptional drought levels, categorized as D4. Due to the drought severity, California’s Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergence, implementing an executive order to achieve a statewide 25% reduction in potable urban water.
Limited water supplies, decreasing water levels in lakes and reservoirs and visibly drier vegetation are a few of the drought’s impact. The aforementioned examples are forcing people to consider ways to conserve and better manage the available water – something most of us take advantage of everyday.
While many Californians are developing ways and adhering to water restrictions, the issue of water conservation is not isolated to just California, it is a world issue!
Water scarcity is when the demand for water is higher than available resources. The U.N states that 1.2 billion people live in areas of physical scarcity and 1.6 billion people face economic water shortage.
Trying to help or come up with solutions to overcome a world issue may seem daunting and out of reach. But don’t fret just yet, helping to conserve one of the world’s most important and limited resource can be done by examining what’s in your closet.
The textile industry is one of the largest consumers of water with cotton farming being a major water consumption. TheGuardian states that cotton accounts for 90% of all natural fiber used in the textile industry. One cotton shirt uses approximately 2,700 liters of water.
Attempting to lead the quest in better water management, H&M teamed up with conservation organization World Wildlife to devised a three-year strategy to reduce negative water consumption. About two thirds of the 500+ supplier factories that make clothes for H&M, using wet processes, are located in areas experiencing significant water scarcity. H&M and WWF are improving their water footprint by selecting more sustainable raw materials and by educating employees and consumers on using water responsibly, to name a few.
Levi’s is also taking a stance on water management with campaigns suggesting that jeans do not need as much washing and using washing techniques to limited water usage. Jeans only need washing after 10 wears, the average American consumer washes after two wears.
What are you doing to limited you fashion footprint and conserve water?