Fashion + Our Oceans

Let’s Do a Better Job to Keep Our Oceans Healthy

Damage to the unexplored

Scientists estimate that around 95% of the earth’s ocean is unexplored, also estimating that up to 80% of the world’s oxygen production comes directly from the ocean.

The ocean is a mystery.

It is already home to 80% of life on earth as well as an estimated 600,000 species undiscovered in the depths of the sea. Our oceans are vitally important, not just in our lives, but to the lives of those calling them their home. So why are they damaged…by us?

The fashion link

Pollution is damaging the oceans with severe consequences. As years have gone by, more and more pollution has flooded the oceans, damaging ecosystems. Roughly, the equivalent of 50 billion (not million…BILLION) plastic bottles are dumped into the oceans every single year.

Microfibres that are left by the plastic that has been discarded in the oceans cannot be extracted from the water. This can then cause these little fibres to travel through the food chain, from one organism to another. Eventually, ending up in our food that we digest.

An estimated 90% of the clothes that we buy are sealed in plastic packaging when transported to retail stores. That plastic packaging is then thrown away, contributing factor to CO2 emissions. These emissions cause the ocean to warm, as well as giving-rise-to the plastic-crisis.

The positive effects of fashion

Although the world of fashion contributes to the warming waters and the plastic-crisis, times are changing. Some fashion collections and designers are raising awareness of this epidemic through fashion. Due to the crisis growing massively in recent years, designers have made ‘ocean’ inspired collections. These clothes and accessories are made to raise awareness and empower not only those wearing them but those seeing them.

Valentino is just one brand that has taken this idea and used it to inspire those around it with a ‘wispy gown’ that is covered in an array of marine life such as, sweet fish, and sea horses.

Another, J.W. Anderson, went about raising awareness by releasing a collection of clothes that were knitted out of bits of rope and other materials used on ships. Rather than these materials going to waste, they have been embedded into the fashion world for a sustainable matter.

Mary Katrantzou is another fashion designer who has spoken openly about the crisis. Her aspiration to make a difference and to inspire others was the inspiration behind many of her items. One of these being a black dress with a jewel-toned fish and other creatures sewed on to it showcased at one of her runways.

Lastly, Stella McCartney, known for her commitment to ethical and sustainable practices, has experimented with fabrics from the ocean. Much of the sportswear line is crafted from ECONYL®, a clothing fibre made from wasted fabric and wasted industrial plastics.

Saving the sea sustainably

It’s not just raising awareness that fashion brands are doing to try and save the oceans. Many fashion companies and designers are creating sustainable and ethical clothes that can be used for water activities.

Patagonia is a brand that specializes in sustainable surf-wear for both men and women. All of their surf-wear clothing is made from Fair Trade certified facilities. This means that every time a purchase is made, a portion of that goes to those who worked on the sewing. Plus, 1% of their sales go to the grassroots groups that work for the preservation of the environment. 

The UK’s first and topmost online surf shop, The Green Wave offers sustainable surf products. The surfboards, bags, flip-flops, and even wax they sell are all sustainable in an effort to reduce plastic usage. They even sell t-shirts and hoodies that have come from the eco-friendly brand Rapanui, using 100% certified organic cotton.

11-time World Surf League Champion, Kelly Slater, has a brand of clothing that is solely committed to sustainability. His brand, Outerknown, only works with suppliers that have been carefully chosen for their adherence to the values of the brand. He describes his own brand as, “The highest regard for the environment and the people we work with.”

Saving our own oceans

Although fashion brands, designers, and collections are doing their piece of saving the ocean while they can, we all need to play our part. The average price for Patagonia’s sustainable boardshorts is $50, while some companies are selling their not sustainable boardshorts for up to $200.

We should always look for items of clothing that is sustainable or has come from a sustainable background to make the difference. If we all did that, together, we would not be in this crisis we are currently in.

Some people may be careless to environment, not bothering about what the damage does to the ecosystem, but this effects us as humans. Those microfibres that comes from the plastic we dump, ends up back with us, but this time we can’t get rid of it.

We can all do more. So let’s do more, what are we waiting for?

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