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  • Saba Tshibaka

We can't afford all these cheap clothes

The numbers are damning. The cotton for a single pair of jeans requires 1800 gallons of water to grow.

That’s my drinking water for nine years. We’re destroying life-sustaining aquifers in the name of clearance-rack impulse buys: Central Asia’s Aral Sea is now a desert, because its feeding rivers are diverted to vast, heavily sprayed cotton farms. Pollution-related health problems in that region are spiking, and mothers are warned that pesticide contamination makes their breast milk toxic to their babies.


It’s painful to face, but worse to look away. North American consumers are playing into the hands of fashion’s profit machine, driving the devastation happening in overseas production regions where regulations are lax. According to the World Resources Institute, each of us buys around 60% more clothing each year than we did in 2000. Careless in our excess, we discard each garment in half the time. The average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually. Cheaply made clothes are built to fall apart after a brief season, and often have no second life as a hand-me-down or charitable donation. The sheer volume of unwanted used clothing makes repairs pointless, so into the landfill it goes.

The average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing annually. Cheaply made clothes are built to fall apart after a brief season, and often have no second life as a hand-me-down or charitable donation.

Online shopping makes it easier than ever to succumb to those impulses to acquire more, more, more. It’s hard to stop and think “do I really need this?” when the sale price is less than a Frappuccino. Puzzling over all of our unworn and often useless clothing purchases, noted consumer researcher Kit Yarrow found that impulse shopping is often driven by a fantasy of an idealized self: the person we wish we were. Smart marketers know this. They fan the flames of our insecurities and daydreams with relentless ads that follow us into the privacy of our own homes. This is where Rendered Inc. steps in.



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