The toxic tale behind your clothing

by Guest Blogger

November 19, 2012

To accompany the launch of the Report "Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch Up" a series of arresting images have been produced built around the concept of "Fashion victims". The 10 iconic images visualise how big brands are forcing consumers to buy clothes that contain hazardous chemicals and that contribute toward toxic water pollution both when they are made, and when they are washed. By revealing the toxic truth that lies behind the glamor of the fashion industry, the images form part of the creative package for Greenpeace's global "Detox" campaign, which is calling on big clothing brands to respond to the urgency of the situation and create fashion without pollution.

© Lance Lee / Greenpeace

What are you wearing today? Touch it. Go on. What does it feel like? Yes, you’re touching a piece of clothing. You’re touching a type of fabric. You’re touching a fashion choice. And yet, there’s more to it: You’re also touching a story. Because every piece of clothing in your wardrobe, in my wardrobe, in everyone’s wardrobe has a story.

Right now, fashion brands are writing this story for us. It features public waterways that are being treated like private sewers. It features poisoned rivers. It features hazardous, persistent and hormone-disrupting chemicals that can cause serious damage to ecosystems and livelihoods.

I don’t know about you, but we here at Greenpeace don’t like that whole story. We love our clothes; we really do. We use our clothes to express ourselves and present ourselves to the world. But we are passionately united behind the belief that our fashion shouldn’t literally cost the earth.

No our clothes don’t have to be laced with toxic chemicals. They don’t have to be manufactured without transparency and cause toxic water pollution. They don’t have to be designed to wear out faster than we can buy them.

There is another way and it’s people like you who’ll bring it about. Because here’s the thing: The brands that make what we wear are listening to us. Why? Because without us they’re nothing. That’s right: NOTHING. And they know this.

Were not cogs in their machine.

We have an amazing power over them individually, but even more so, when we come together.

We call it #PeoplePower and it just keeps growing: We’re people who love our clothes and we’re ready to push things forward. That’s why this year, Greenpeaces Detox Campaign is delving even further into the hazardous chemicals used in the production of our high street fashion.

Today, we are exposing the links between textile manufacturing facilities using toxic chemicals and water pollution. Our investigation includes 20 global fashion brands, and testing on 141 products sold by the leading fashion brands, such as Zara, Chinese fashion label Metersbonwe, Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Mango, Tommy Hilfiger and Vero Moda.

We demand brands eliminate releases of hazardous chemicals into the environment and products. The best way to do this is to replace them with safer alternatives. And to show that they mean it, they must be transparent and disclose what each of their suppliers are releasing into our environment from their facilities.

If the brands that have the real power and influence work with their suppliers to pioneer safe alternatives to hazardous chemicals, and bring them to market quickly, others will follow. If #PeoplePower keeps pushing this hard enough, we can change things globally, and forever.

Just consider what we have achieved already: Seven major international brands (Puma, Nike, Adidas, H&M, M&S, C&A and Li-Ning) have committed to change because you told them to.

But so far brands such as Zara remain silent. If you share our vision for the future, join us in calling on Zara to Detox our fashion! Tell Zara we dont want hazardous chemical in our clothing or our waterways. Together, we can take control of the story our clothes tell and make it a better one for all of us.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

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