The average American family spends nearly $1700 a year on clothes. But what happens to the clothes from last year? Or the year before? In the age of “fast-fashion”, a new shirt tends to be a fleeting charm, worn once or twice before finding its way into the back of the closet. Maybe it’s worn and washed a few more times until its stretched, faded, and pilling, to be painted in or thrown away. In fact, textile waste has increased over 800% since 1960, and accounts for nearly 8% of all waste in the landfill today. These numbers paint a sad picture: industry corporations focus on cheap and endless supply, and consumer demand follows. Consumer goods are trending away from durability and longevity, you might even be reading this on a phone that only lasts two years.
The unsustainability of the textile and apparel industry is the ever-present elephant in the room. Much of this can be blamed on the rise of fast-fashion and the fashion industry itself pushing for trends and styles to change with the year, season, and month.
Recycling and re-purposing of old clothes is just starting to see some mainstream success, turning old denim into new denim products, and other fibers into insulation and carpet material. However, to attack the problem at the source, consider the quality and longevity of a product before buying. Cheaply made tees will lose their integrity after only a few washes, where a shirt of high-quality cotton, carefully stitched seams, and attention to detail can last dozens, even hundreds of washes and wears. Some of our customers at Goodwear have been wearing the same tee for over a decade. We only source American grown cotton, and each piece is cut, sewn, and finished in the USA. And with timeless style, we don’t trash old stock to make room for new trends. Tried and true, the classics will last, reducing your impact on the landfill, and saving you some of that $1700 as you wear them year after year.
(graph and data from July 2018 EPA Municipal Waste Report)