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Sustainability in Active Wear

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

By Ilaria Perry

Yoga pants are a fan favorite that can be dressed up or down, and are a staple in most girls' wardrobes. Yet over the past two years I have been seeing articles pop-up about how dangerous they are for the environment. While different organizations have been shining light on the issue it doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves.

Fast fashion has become popular in the last few years, and while it is working great for the fashion industry it has negative effects on the environment. While people are buying clothes at an increased rate this also means that people disposing of more clothes as well. Teen Vogue claims that the fashion industry is currently “the second largest polluter in the world, after fossil fuels”.

In order to create clothing fast, manufactories use synthetic, plastic based materials. These include polyester, nylon, and spandex. These materials contain microfibers that are non-biodegradable. These microfibers can also be known as microplastics, microscopic pieces of plastic that are polluting the earth. A study published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin showed that even washing clothes made from synthetics releases the microfibers into the water. This means that these microfibers are everywhere, and since they are so small there are currently no ways to filter them out.

So, you might wonder why any of this matters, but this issue is effecting everyone. Fish and other animals consume the microplastics in the water. Not only is marine life effected, but humans too ingest them in our drinking water. The biggest take away is that no one is safe from the microfibers, and as this is a more modern problem, research has yet to be done on how this will effect people’s health.

While, there may not be an answer on how to rid the pollution from the water, some companies are working to make their clothing more eco-friendly. Brands like Patagonia work to not only use natural fibers, but also to reduce their carbon footprint in other aspects. This means taking into consideration the water, land, and energy needed to produce an article of clothing.

Some other brands that sell eco-friendly clothes, specifically active wear include: Green Apple Active, Teeki, Satva, and Kooshoo. Kooshoo focuses on headbands and hair ties that are made more sustainably.

The fashion industry follows what the people want, so if there is a higher demand for eco-friendly brands, more will emerge. I think that at the moment this is the only way to really start change in fast fashion. Next time you buy an outfit, think about how it will affect the environment.

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