15 Eye-Opening Fast Fashion Statistics (2021)

If you’re reading this is because you already know that the fast fashion industry is causing huge global issues.

Pollution, waste, and poor worker treatment are all, unfortunately, all too common.

In this article, we’ve collected some of the most eye-opening and shocking fast fashion statistics to help you understand the impact this industry is having on the planet and people.

We’ve broken it up into three sections, with sources to the individual studies linked for further reading.

Here are the facts:

General Fast Fashion Statistics

1. The average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used has decreased by 36% compared to 15 years ago (Ellen Macarthur Foundation)

The fashion and apparel industry is responsible for approximately one third of all microplastics found in the ocean.

Plastic Soup Foundation

2. Two-thirds of consumers in Germany and the UK consider a brand’s actions on sustainability to be an important buying factor, but only one-third of Germans and 16% of Britons are trading up their purchases to more sustainable brands. (McKinsey)

3. One in six people worldwide work in the fashion industry (UNECE)

4. The apparel industry’s global emissions output is predicted to increase by 49% by 2030 if nothing changes (Quantis)

5. The fashion and apparel industry is responsible for approximately one third of all microplastics found in the ocean. (Plastic Soup Foundation)

Fast Fashion Production Waste

1. This fashion industry is the second highest user of water worldwide, producing 20% of total global water waste. (UNECE)

2. As much as 12% of fibers are still discarded on factory floors, 25% of fast fashion garments remain unsold, and less than 1% of products are recycled into new garments. (Ellen Macarthur Foundation)

3. Clothing production produces more emissions than international plane travel and shipping combined (House of Commons Environmental Audit)

As much as 12% of fibers are still discarded on factory floors, 25% of fast fashion garments remain unsold, and less than 1% of products are recycled into new garments.

Ellen Macarthur Foundation

4. Garment production volumes are growing by 2.7% annually and less than 1% of products are recycled into new garments (Business of Fashion)

5. It takes 2,700 liters of water to produce the amount of cotton needed for a single t-shirt. (WWF)

Fast Fashion Ethics and Supply Chain Problems

1. 93% of brands don’t pay garment workers a living wage (Fashion Checker)

2. The Inditex Group (parent company of Zara, Mango, and more) is responsible for producing 508,012 metric tons of CO2e in 2019 (Statista)

35% of surveyed garment workers in Bangladesh have experienced violence from workplace supervisors.

Fashion Checker

3. Only 4% of consumers in the UK say they “only buy from sustainable clothing brands” (Statista)

4. 80% of garment workers are women and they are routinely paid less than their male coworkers (Fashion Checker)

5. 35% of surveyed garment workers in Bangladesh have experienced violence from workplace supervisors (Fashion Checker)

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