The fashion industry – particularly the fast fashion sector, which is the one responsible for recreating runway looks in a highly sped up manner and offering them for dirt cheap prices – has wreaked havoc in the lives of garment workers, on the environment, and in the lives of consumers, as well. In light of Fashion Revolution Week, which occurs between April 25th and 29th this year and which aims to “bring people from all over the world together to use the power of fashion to change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes and accessories,” we take a look at fashion by the numbers …
0 garments – The number of its own garments that Patagonia aims to have end up in landfills. In furtherance of this goal, Patagonia actively repairs its consumers’ garments, and in other cases, recycles and sells used Patagonia products in its stores.
2 percent – The percentage of domestically-purchased clothing that is made in the U.S. today (compared to 95 percent in 1960);
$3 – Women working in garment factories in Bangladesh often make less than $3 per day.
$5 – The cost of a shirt from Forever 21;
40 years – The number of years it takes for many textiles to decompose once in a landfill, all the while the dyes and chemicals included in garments actively contaminate the soil and water in the ground. (Note: Shoes can take up to 1,000 years to break down).
59 garments – The average number of garments that the average American purchases per year. This is up from the 28 items of clothing per year that American consumers purchased in the mid-1990’s.
60 tons – The number of tons of unworn, recyclable clothing that H&M was found to have burned in 2017, according to an investigation from Danish television channel TV2’s Operation X program.
$68 – The lowest monthly wage of a garment factory worker in Bangladesh, which is the second biggest apparel exporting country in the world after China. Such low wages commonly result in issues such as workers having to work extremely long and exhausting hours to earn a living wage, and them a poor quality of life, including low nutrition and bad housing conditions.
82 pounds – The average American individual throws away about 82 pounds of textiles (or roughly 8.1 trash bags) every year. That adds up to more than 14 million tons from the U.S., alone, up from 7 million tons in less than 20 years.
85 percent – The average percent of the global garment manufacturing supply chain laborers that are women. These women are routinely paid just 60 percent of the amount of money their male equivalents are paid for similar work.
140 people – the number of garment workers that died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911;
1,138 people – The number of garment workers that died in the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013;
1,900 suppliers – The number of independent suppliers around the world – including in some of the lowest-cost manufacturing hubs, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam – that H&M relies upon to make its cheaply-priced clothing.
8,000 factories – The number of Cambodia garment factories workers who protested in 2015 after being promised an 18-euro pay rise and only receiving half;
170 million children – The number of child laborers in the world, most of whom are located in developing countries where fast fashion is manufactured;
$69.4 billion – The net worth of Inditex (Zara’s parent company) owner, Amancio Ortega;
1.5-2.5 trillion gallons – the number of gallons of the world's water used by the fashion industry each year.
* This article is part of a larger series of sustainability-focused articles that will run on TFL during Fashion Revolution Week, which runs from Monday, April 23 to Sunday, April 29.