The fashion industry can be hugely detrimental to our environment.
It's a well known fact that many of the plastics we use in our day-to-day lives end up in the ocean. However, you may not be aware that one major source of this pollution is in fact our clothes.
DID YOU KNOW?
Synthetic substitutes for naturally sourced fibres and textiles are a major contributor to microplastic pollution in our ocean.
Plastic pollution is an ever-growing global concern, causing detrimental effects to animals, communities and ecosystems. Plastic debris can come in various shapes and sizes, however, those less the five millimeters long are referred to as "microplastics". They are present in a variety of products ~ from cosmetics to plastic bags and bottles to synthetic clothing (yes - they could be found in your favourite top!)
Do you ever stop to question if the fabric used in your clothing is actually good for you? Or, not just for you, but also the planet?
These micro plastics are extremely harmful to our ocean and sea life. Synthetic blends are made from non-renewable sources. They fail to biodegrade in landfill, and produce toxic chemical by-products during manufacturing.
It is not only having an awareness of where our garments come from (what factory they have come out of and what they are made of) but also an awareness for how long they are going to last, and where they will end up ~ asking questions about the entire life cycle of the garment. The harmful effects caused by synthetic clothing doesn't end once the garment hits the racks… we urge you to ask the question… where do they go next?
While mircroplastics can be toxic to sea life on their own, they can also act like sponges, soaking up other toxins in the water. Worse, they can be ingested by a variety of marine wildlife and accumulate in the food chain... and therefore, even us.
FROM OUR CLOTHES...
- Polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers — all of which are forms of plastic — are now on average 60% of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide.
TO OUR OCEAN...
- One piece of synthetic clothing can release 700,000 microfibers in a single wash. These are essentially microscopic pieces of plastic, just like the microbeads you find in cosmetics.
- More than ⅓ of all microplastics released into the ocean are from synthetic textiles.
- Every time you run your washing machine, hundreds and thousands of microfibers are flushed down the drain. Many reach beaches and oceans where they can remain for hundreds of years.
- Between ½ million and a million tons of plastic microfibers are released into wastewater each year from the washing of synthetic garments.
AND, IN OUR BODIES....
- A recent study, testing fish from NSW waterways, found high levels of microplastic pollution in the guts of three different species of fish. Once again, the worst offending plastic particles were in fact synthetic fibres.
- 100% of wild mussels sampled in supermarkets were found to contain microplastics.
- Studies now show that microplastics in the blood of pregnant women cross the placental barrier and directly result in embryonic developmental disorders, gestational diabetes, decreased birth weight, allergic asthma and other respiratory problems in newborns.
- Worse, microplastics can be transmitted through mother's milk. This means that infants who may already be adversely impacted receive an even higher dose at a most critical period in their development.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
1. MAKE IT LAST
The ever-increasing change of pace within the fashion industry has a particularly harmful effect on the environment. With each passing season consumers are encouraged into buying the latest garments to stay on trend.
Slow Fashion is a more conscious and considered approach to fashion that is more environmentally and ethically sound. So, what does that look like?
At MIA FRATINO, we insist on precision craftsmanship. We create garments that last in both quality and design – so you can cherish them for many seasons to come.
We believe that the way we shop has a big impact on our environment. We have made it our mission to educate consumers and provide truly ethical and sustainable options for customers wishing to buy natural fibres.
We are not fast-fashion. We are dedicated to a slow fashion ethos ~ with the highest attention and manufacturing policies for environmental awareness. We advocate the purchasing of high quality, ethically made and long-lasting garments.
Fast fashion thrives on continual consumption, and cheap, trend-based garments that barely last a season and require regular replacement.
You can make your favourite knit last even longer with the proper care! That’s why we educate our customers and encourage proper care and repair, over replacement.
2. MINDFUL PURCHASING
We care where it comes from and where it ends up.
At MIA FRATINO, we passionately educate our customers to understand what their garments are made from is a major part of our company ethos. We don’t just pay lip service to the notion of ethical production, sustainable fibres and slow fashion. We live and breath these values in every step of our design, production and making process. It is our promise to deliver honest, sustainably sourced and truly ethically made knitwear.
Sustainable and ethical can be *buzz words* thrown around so often that it can start to feel inauthentic or meaningless ~ and in world of fashion, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
SO, WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP?
UNDERSTANDING OUR CONSUMER FOOTPRINT
Our consumer footprint looks at the potential environmental impact of our consumer behaviour in relation to the impacts that is has on our environment.
Simply put ~ it's how and what we're buying vs what impact these buying choices have on our environment.
We encourage consumers to look at the contents label of their garments before they purchase.
As a consumer, we ask you to carefully consider what fibres are used to create your garment and where these fibres are sourced. Responsible consumerism is more than simply knowing who made your garment. A label won’t often tell you how much energy, waste and 'nasties' went into making your favourite item of clothing or how these will effect our environment.
It's about finding out the nitty-gritty details behind your favourite pieces. Is it made locally? Is it made internationally? Is it made under ethical working conditions? Is it made with natural fibres sourced ethically? What chemicals or bi-products were put into the waterways during its production?
...OR the big question of today, is it made using a synthetic fibre or from a synthetic blend?
If the answer to the latter is yes, then you should ask yourself ~ What damage is this item doing to our planet and is there a more responsible alternative?
We are here to help you on this quest.
3. Go oh-natural!
It's super easy to pop into your favourite store and reach for the latest best-seller with no question as to what it's made from (we get it!) If it fits, looks great and doesn't cost an arm and a leg...then it's 9/10 a win!
However, this is the type of consumer behaviour we are urging people to reconsider.
There are many fabrics and textiles available, each with their very own set of positive and negative traits.
So what's the solution? Go oh-natural!
Natural fabrics are textiles made from natural fibres, including linen, cotton, hemp, silk, cashmere, wool and more. These fibres derive from both animals and plants, spun to create yarns, which are made into fabrics. Not only are they good for you and great for the environment, natural fabrics can have a positive impact on both.
As environmentally sustainable fibres, the majority of natural fabrics are also biodegradable, breathable, durable, and a natural repellent to mould and dirt (what more can you ask for!)
However, before you start your all-natural fibres journey... there is one more important factor to consider when going oh-natural. That is, to choose ethically and responsibly sourced natural fibres.
The fashion industry is saturated with companies who either use synthetic or synthetic blends that are harmful for the environment or alternatively prioritise the dollar over ethics and quality, selling cashmere without regard for its origins, or the regulation of the spinners or processes. We refuse to do either.
Sustainability begins at the source.
At MIA FRATINO, we use only 100% natural fibres that are biodegradable and environmentally sustainable.
We do not use any synthetics blends.
We stand extremely firm on the ethical sourcing practices of our cashmere (and other natural fibres). We take our commitment to ethically and socially responsible knitwear seriously, with highest importance on environmental protection, animal welfare and sustainability.
Our cashmere is sourced ethically from Inner Mongolia. All our cashmere goats are reared in happy, healthy and cruelty-free environments. The cashmere fleece is taken from the underbelly, Winter coat of the Cashmere goat, collected during the warmer months when the fleece is naturally shed. No goats were harmed in the making of your MIA FRATINO garment.
Our cashmere fibres are tested for purity at an independent laboratory to check for 100% cashmere DNA, so you can have full confidence that our fibres are absolutely pure and ethically sourced.