Organic Clothing Coalition

Inside A Giant: Fashion Facts to Know

Worldwide production of fiber break down shows man-made fibers account for 70% of textiles produced.  Polyester with its share of 29% continues to be on first rank, followed by acrylic with 25% and polyamide with 11% and other types 5%.  Synthetic filament yarn and synthetic staple accounts for 90% and cellulosic filament yarn and cellulosic staple 10%. 

Natural fibers make up only 30% of worldwide fiber production.

In 2013, the world-production of man-made fiber was 60,3 million tons. The production of cellulosic man-made fiber was 5,9 million tons, that of synthetic man-made fiber 54,4 million tons.  

Globally, sales in the clothing and textile industry (clothing, textiles, footwear and luxury goods) reached almost $2,560 trillion in 2010.

​In 2014 the world childrenswear market  reached sales beyond $186 billion dollars, marking a 15 percent increase in five years.

The world bridalwear market is expected to reach almost $57 billion in 2015.

The world menswear industry predicted to exceed $402 billion in 2014.

The world womenswear industry is expected to pass $621 billion in 2014, marking a 12% increase in five years.

The Chinese textile industry creates about 3 billion tons of soot each year causing a dramatic rise in air pollution.

The textile industry discharges about 300,600 tons of COD and contributes to 8.2 percent of COD pollution in China.

Millions of tons of unused fabric at Chinese mills go to waste each year when dyed the wrong color.

A single mill in China can use 200 tons of water for each ton of fabric it dyes; many rivers run with the colors of the season as the untreated toxic dyes wash off from mills.  Forty percent of the surface water is contaminated and twenty percent of ground.

In 2012, the China Pollution Map Database had 6,000 records of textile factories violating environmental regulations, including: discharging wastewater from hidden pipes; discharging untreated pollutants; improper use of wastewater treatment facilities; exceeding total pollutant discharge allowed; and using production facilities that were shut down by the authorities for various reasons.

After preliminary investigations into links between well-known apparel brands and textile manufacturers with environmental violations, five organizations sent letters to the CEOs of 48 companies. Respondants included Nike, Esquel, Walmart, H&M Levi’s, Adidas, and Burberry – all who have now started to take proactive measures and have carried out inquiries and pushed suppliers to take corrective actions.

Employment in the U.S. apparel manufacturing industry has declined by more than 80 percent (from about 900,000 to 150,000 jobs) over the past two decades.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports Germany has the highest hourly compensation costs within the apparel manufacturing industry.

The United States Energy Administration, revealed the textile industry in the U.S. is the 5th largest contributor to CO2 emissions in the country

​China's fashion industry is set to become the world’s second fashion market by 2020, and will account for about 30 percent of the global fashion market’s growth over the next five years, but they are not buying brands made in China.

In 2020, total fashion sales in China are expected to be triple their current level, rising to more than RMB 1.3 trillion ($200 billion) from RMB 398 billion ($60 billion) in 2010.

On average, every American in the United States spent $1,141 on more than 64 garments in 2013 accounting for the total consumption of 19 billion garments.

Center for American Progress, Global Wage Trends reported that among the top apparel exporters to the United States prevailing wages in 2011 for China  was 36%, Indonesia 26%, Vietnam 22% and Bangladesh 14% of a living wage required to sustain a family of four further contributing to the astounding poverty of workers in these countries. 

The high cost of cheap disposable fashion can be summed up in this photo:  The Sava, Bangladesh Rana Plaza Tragedy where 1,140 garment workers died and over 2,500 were severely injured when an eight story garment factory collapsed on April 24, 2013.
Photo Credit: Chau Doan 
Photo Credit:  Rana Plaza tragedy Photographer Ismail Ferdous
Photo Credit:  Photographer Unknown
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