26 Sustainable Fashion Stats That
You Need To Know Today

“Sustainable fashion” is a trend that most brands try to follow. Research of Edited, a London-based retail analytics company, shows that the number of clothes and accessories described as “sustainable” has risen by 400% in the last few years!

More and more fashion brands have started using words  like “vegan”, “conscious”, and “eco” when describing their products... but are they actually contributing more sustainable fashion industry?

Let’s take a look at sustainable fashion facts to understand the real state of the industry.

Consumption Trends 

Keynes’ Law states that “Demand creates its own supply”, and it’s so true when it comes to fashion. One of the key reasons why fashion brands produce that much clothing is high demand.

• Consumers worldwide buy about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. This is 400% more than people consumed twenty years ago.

• People tend to buy fashion products that they don’t need. Here is the result of one online survey: over 34% of survey participants said they never wear up to 10% of the clothing kept after buying in an average year.

• Even though consumption of cloth has skyrocketed, the use of clothes has decreased by 36%. This trend alone generates upwards of 15 million tons of discarded clothing items per year in the United States alone.

• Lyst, the largest global fashion search platform, revealed that there was a 47% increase in ethical-fashion-related search queries such as “vegan leather” and “organic cotton”.

• According to Ethical Consumer Markets Report 2018, sales of ethically-produced clothing increased by 20%, and sales of second-hand clothing increased by 23%.

• Even though the vast majority of Millennials claim that they “care about sustainability”, only one in three Millennials does support ethical fashion brands. According to the LIM College survey, only 37% of millennial respondents purchase sustainable clothing.

38% of millennials have purchased more than half of all garment pieces they currently own in the past 12 months.


Textile Fibres & Pollution

The biggest ethical issue of the fashion industry is the extensive use of natural resources. Here are some sustainable facts you should be aware of:

• More than 90% of that cotton is now genetically modified. Cotton production is now responsible for 18% of worldwide pesticide use and 25% of total insecticide use.

• Up to 20,000 liters of water are needed to produce just 1 kg of cotton.

• The water spent to grow cotton in India is equal to the amount of water needed to cover 85% of the daily needs in the water of the entire population of India. These sustainability facts are daunting since 100 million people in India do not have access to drinking water.

• Results of one scientific study showed that microfibres released during washing range from 124 to 308 mg for a kg of washed fabric, depending on the type of washed garment.

• According to experts’ estimates, phthalate concentrations could be 74 to 208% higher in soils with plastic mulching compared to non-mulched soils.

• Just 0.07% of overall synthetic fibre production is sustainable, and fashion companies use just a small part of it.

• Petrochemicals-based synthetics account for 65% of all fibres produced annually, mainly in China.

Waste Management

Not only production but also utilization of clothing threatens the environment. Unfortunately, most brands and consumers don’t put enough effort into building an effective waste management system.

If you are a student who is writing a research paper essay or essay, we highly suggest that you read this and check the following eco-friendly fashion facts for educational purposes. The situation in the industry is worse than it seems.

• Survey reveals that 41% of Australians have thrown clothes they no longer want to wear straight in the bin.

• 3/10 Aussies have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once. One in six respondents admitted that they have thrown away at least three items that they’ve only worn once.

• The same survey showed that 24% of Millennials threw away clothes because they are “bored of wearing them”.

• The fashion industry accounts for about 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater.

• The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that only 15.2% of textile products were recycled in 2017.

90% of wastewaters used in developing countries for garment production are discharged into rivers without any adequate treatment. 


Working Conditions, Wages, and Child Labour

Developed economies exploit textile workers from developing countries. And it’s a critical issue we can’t ignore. Here are sustainable fashion statistics you should be familiar with to make the right purchasing decisions.

• Fashion is known as one of the most labour-intensive industries. It employs more than 60 million people worldwide, mainly in developing Asian countries.

• The Global Slavery Index revealed one of the most socking sustainability facts: 40 million people are living in modern slavery today, many of whom are engaged in the supply chains of western clothing brands.

• International Labour Organization states that child labour declined by 30% between 2000 and 2012. It seems like great progress, but 11% of the world’s children are still in situations that deprive them of getting an education.

• Researchers calculated that less than 2% of the people who make the clothes we wear earn a living wage. For instance, many people who make T-shirts in Bangladesh earn less than €2 per day.

• G20 countries imported $US127.7 billion fashion products that experts define as “at-risk products of modern slavery”.

• Scientists proved that leather tannery workers are at a higher risk of cancer (by between 20%-50%) than workers of other industries.


Sustainability in the fashion industry is hard to achieve. Each of us needs to contribute. By being a conscious consumer and supporting local ethical brands, you can make this world a better place.

Our hope is that one day that the sustainable fashion industry doesn't exist - that sustainable practices become the norm of the 'fashion industry'

Are you looking to shop ethical and sustainable fashion online? Shop Stride now to browse over 100 Australian brands

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Author Bio

Bridgette Hernandez is a freelance expert in academic and creative writing and blogger. She is a slow fashion advocate and environmental sustainability enthusiast. Bridgette volunteers at a local environmental organization helping to promote ethical consumption among young people.