The average person will own a staggering 2,500 kilos of clothing in their lifetime.

‘Clothing the Loop’ art installation by Von Wong and Laura Francois, is an astonishing visual of how the fashion industry impacts our environment.

François told Southeast Asia Globe she wanted to show people the “hidden cost of clothing”.


“The fashion industry is extremely wasteful and we wanted to shed some light on that and highlight the three resources that we overuse from our planet to support our shopping habits: water, air and trees,” .

Clothing is the 4th largest contributor to environmental pollution; after housing, transport and food. On average, an article of clothing has a 3½ year lifespan – from purchase to being discarded. This is an absurdly small lifespan when you consider the resources and  processes that it takes to make an article of clothing, not to mention the washing, tumble drying and ironing that it takes to maintain over the years. 

  • 27,000 litres of water are used to produce one cotton t-shirt.
  • 70 million trees are cut down every year to produce the fibres for our clothing.
  • The production of clothing is expected to produce 2.8 billion tons of CO2 a year by 2030.

Growing cotton requires large amounts of water and pesticides, it needs to be treated, woven, and dyed at a facility – all of which may be processed in factories in different parts of the world.  It then needs to be transformed into a product, often by low-wage workers in Bangladesh, India, China, or Turkey. The product is then shipped and marketed to wealthier countries like the U.K. The transportation required to get a single item of clothing into the hands of the customer is why clothing production accounts for 10 percent of worldwide carbon emissions

If we want to make a change, we must not support ‘Fast fashion’ outlets. Look to shops that sell Pre-loved – dress agencies, charity shops, facebay and other online markets. There is such an overwhelming abundance of  existing clothing out there!  If you must buy new, support companies who produce ethical and sustainable clothing close to home. Look after your clothes and cherish them; wash less, repair and always use your washing line to dry them! 

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