Green is the new black

cotton_largeWe all know that “the fabric of our lives“ is cotton. But new, innovative approaches to the fashion industry might give cotton a run for its money (at least in terms of attention). After all, wouldn’t you want to have a scarf or dress made out of the cellulose extracted from orange peels, instead?

Although the approach to using orange juice byproducts by the startup Orange Fiber is resourceful, the fashion industry’s carbon footprint has a long way to go in dropping a size. The rise of fast fashion drives up consumption and increases the amount of clothing thrown away, thus threatening sustainable practices. According to a study by Boston Consulting Group presented at a COP side event this Wednesday, the fashion industry scores a 32/100 in terms of sustainability. Even simple fabrics have an enormous impact: producing one kilogram of cotton fabric takes 3,000 liters of water and 1 kilogram of chemicals, and emits 16 kilograms of CO2 (not to mention energy for raw materials, production, and transport).

The fashion industry needs to address sustainability at all levels, from the shopping cart to the washing machine and ending in the recycling bin. Consumers, too, need to think twice about what it means to be fashionable if they don’t want to commit a climate change faux-pas. But with a transformation to a Green Carpet, maybe consumers–and fashion skeptics–can be convinced that glamor and eco-manufacturing go together like a hand and a glove.