Low impact
Low-impact processes use minimal natural resources in ways that reduce environmental impact on water, air, soil, wildlife, and human health. But the hard truth is that conventional fashion has a high impact on both the planet and people. It’s probably not something you think about when you get dressed in the morning, but high-impact fashion is definitely not eco fashion.

The Big Picture: Industry’s Giant Environmental Footprint

What if you knew that your fashion harmed wild monkeys in Africa, 200 year old trees in Brazil, a rare species of bird in Virginia, or a child working in a cotton field in India? Would you change your buying habits to align them with eco shopping principles and lower your impact on the planet?

The problem is that most of consumers don’t realize the consequences our choices have for the planet. And with a growing human population our industrial impact is growing exponentially by the year:[i]

  • Just 200 years ago, in 1812, there were only about 950 million people on the entire planet.
  • By 1912, just a hundred years later, the planet’s population rose by nearly one hundred million people, bringing the population to about 1.5 billion.
  • In the next 100 years, the population rose by 5.5 billion. Yes—in just another 100 years, the population rose from under 2 billion to 7 billion.

So in just 200 years, our planet’s population ballooned from just under 1 billion people to about 7 billion people. And virtually every one of those 7 billion people wants to consume cheap goods. The industrial system that feeds our consumer appetite is very high impact!

Cheap Fashion’s Contribution

To meet the tremendous drive for consumer goods, the fast fashion industry churns out cheap, cookie cutter clothing and jewelry. This devastates Mother Earth and her inhabitants. Consider these high-impact fashion industry problems:

  • Toxic leather: Raising animals for leather is toxic. Their feed is hormone-infused and antibiotic-laced which pollutes our water supply and contributes to the creation of super-pests. After they’re butchered, animal hides are tanned to create leather using highly toxic chemicals like chrome, acids, lime and lots of salt, all of which poison water and soil.
  • Climate disrupting animal-based fashion: Huge areas of land are being deforested to create pasture for animal herds, greatly affecting global warming. The manure created by those herds releases millions of tons of greenhouse gases. Cows, sheep, and pigs contribute more greenhouse gases to the planet than the transportation sector!
  • Water-wasting textiles: The textile industry is one of the most water- and chemical-intensive industries. Textile manufacturers worsen the situation by using multiple rinse cycles full of chemicals to dye and prepare textiles for manufacturing.

And the faster our population grows, the more intense these processes become.

The people in this profit-driven, high-impact system also suffer because of consumer demands:

  • Their local ecosystems are often left severely impaired, poisoned, and drained of all valuable resources.
  • Indigenous peoples suffer from poor health as a result of the chemicals and toxins dumped in their neighborhoods and used on the job.
  • Poor wages given to farmers and artisans trap them in extreme poverty.

Our planet and the people who inhabit it cannot withstand much more of this destructive behaviour.

The Power of Low-Impact Fashion

There is good news. By becoming more aware and then turning your awareness into eco shopping action, your purchasing power can affect change in the fashion industry.  Buying low impact fashion is one way to make a difference!

Low-impact or ethical fashion emphasizes making garments and accessories in ways that minimize impact on our planet and support the artisans who make them.  At Hearts, low-impact fashion includes:

  • Cultural fashion created with traditionally woven textiles
  • Handmade eco jewelry and accessories
  • Unique high-quality recycled or upcycled fashion
  • Innovative technologies and materials like  imitation leather made from recycled soda bottles
  • Advanced technologies like AirDye that colors fabric without harsh chemicals

At Hearts, we use every method available to us to ensure that our fashion has the smallest eco footprint possible.

You can do your part by educating yourself and making smarter purchasing choices when it comes to your fashion. The world is counting on you. 

To find out more about low impact fashion, dive deeper.

Process - Low Impact - hearts.com.pdf

[i] Lewis, S. K. (2004, April 20). Human Numbers Through Time. Retrieved August 24, 2012, from NOVA: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/global-population-growth.html