I’ve talked about our garment waste issue before, but in honor of Fashion Revolution Week and thinking about changing the way we consume fashion, I thought it would be good idea to have a refresher course.
In 2012 factories churned out 80 billion items of clothing worldwide, which according to the film The True Cost, was 400% more clothing than 20 years ago. And while those numbers are quite shocking, that’s just the beginning. In 2016, just four short years later, it was estimated that factories produced 150 billion items of clothing — almost double those already mind-boggling 2012 numbers.
In a similar fashion, we are discarding our clothes just as fast. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that worldwide in 2013, over 15 million tons of textile waste was generated, with 13 million tons sent to landfill or incinerator. And of that, 10.5 million tons came from the U.S. To put that into perspective, that is 30 times as heavy as the Empire State Building. And that, my friends, is a sh*t ton of clothes.
And once that garment waste is in the landfills, the story just gets worse. Natural fibers produce greenhouse gases, while synthetic fibers (a type of plastic) can take hundreds years or longer to biodegrade. And all of the bleaches, dyes and other chemicals used to process tend to leach into the groundwater.
And what’s worse is that 95% of textiles could actually be recycled. If it were, it would make huge impacts on the environment — the EPA estimated that the 2.3 million tons of textiles that were actually recycled in 2013 was the equivalent of taking 1.2 million cars off the road.
And this is where AEON ROW comes in. AEON ROW is working to write an alternative ending for your clothes. They keep clothing out of landfills by recovering old clothes, reviving the fabrics and then creating new designs.
The company also makes the whole more sustainable thing easy and incentivizing. Their clothing is semi-affordable, with nothing over $100; and they reward you for recycling your old clothes. When you order from them, they also send a return label to send back an old piece of clothing — and if you do, you’re rewarded with a 15% discount code for your next purchase.
Once AEON ROW receives your old clothing they sort it by material and then decide the most appropriate recycling option. Clothing that can become new fabric is further sorted by color, broken down and spun into new yarn. The yarn is then woven into fresh fabric and made into their timeless designs.
AEON ROW also aims to reduce consumption through those designs — attempting to give their customers more options with fewer items. Their designs are unique yet simple, they can make a statement on their own or work as a timeless essential that works as a base for a fully versatile wardrobe.