A few years ago when we started Believe Athletics with all the enthusiasm in the world, one of the first stones we stumbled upon was the cost of the garments.
We wanted to create quality garments, made here and paying fair wages... that's as far as our idealism... but we found ourselves with the great barrier of the cost of the garments compared to a consumer (such as ourselves) accustomed to paying low prices for fast fashion. To our surprise, it was much cheaper for us to go to a large chain store to buy clothes than to produce them in our workshops (and all of them without counting design, marketing, logistics costs...).
At this point we had three options: get on the bandwagon of the big chains by going to developing countries to produce all our clothes, close the company, or fight for our dream by tightening our belts as much as possible so that the prices we offer you are affordable (for true, we chose the latter).
Finding ourselves in this difficult situation has led us to be very curious about this subject and try to learn about it, because we also wanted to be more competitive... but what is behind low-priced fashion?
During this time we have learned that Fast Fashion is very expensive : 1) To the planet , 2) To the People who work for miserable wages in the production chain and, ... although it seems the opposite, it is also more expensive to 3) Our Pocket .
1. Consequences for our Planet:
The textile industry has become the second most polluting industry on the planet after oil. It produces 20% of the world's wastewater and 10% of CO2 emissions, this is more than all international flights and cargo ships combined.
35% of the microplastics in our oceans come from low-quality synthetic garments that release microplastics in their manufacture and in the washing we do at home.
Nowadays, garments have a very short life cycle, either because they get old after a few washes, because they have a simple construction that frays easily, or simply because we don't like them anymore and we throw them away. Which leaves us with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. Each Spaniard throws away between 7 and 14 kilos (*) of clothing per year, 75% of this clothing ends up in landfills, with no possibility of recycling or reusing it, contaminating even more.
2. Consequences for People in the production chain:
If we want to buy shoes for €30, dresses for €10 and t-shirts for €5, we must be aware that the person who sewed them receives only cents for them. That is the harsh reality that is hard for us to accept and we prefer not to think about it.
In addition, the contamination of the waters near the factories causes important public health problems. The use of processes that consume a lot of water, which full of harmful chemicals is sent to rivers without adequate treatment, is a serious problem, especially in developing countries where river water has undergone a change radical. In China, it is estimated that 70% of the rivers and lakes are already highly polluted, a fact that can have serious consequences; a high incidence of cancer and gastric and skin problems have already been observed to afflict those who work in or live nearby in the industry.
3. Consequences for our pocket:
We buy 4 times more clothes than in the 1990s. Buying clothes that we only wear a few times and need to replace often... we end up spending more money than investing in a few well-made, good-quality clothes.
And speaking clearly… clothes that have been designed to be worn a few times can never be sustainable, no matter if they are made from recycled material or organic cotton.
We do not intend to demonize anyone, we recognize that not everything is black or white, and that there are things produced in Asia or in Central and South American countries that are made in workshops or factories in a sustainable and fair way (and in some cases, we will use them). But the reality is that it is not usual. Let's be picky, and make informed buying decisions because otherwise we all contribute to this mess while looking the other way.
We propose 2 very simple steps , so that without changing where you shop, you can continue enjoying your favorite brands in a much more responsible way:
- Wear each item at least 30 times. It is estimated that if we gave that minimum use to each garment we could reduce emissions by 44%. (**)
- Wash clothes less often. With each wash thousands of fragments of synthetic fibers are thrown into the sea. At Believe Athletics we offer you garments with Skinlife® antimicrobial technology that do not need frequent washing. In addition, the fibers used in Believe Athletics are designed to avoid contamination by microplastics.
If you want to know more about the steps Believe Athletics follows to create more sustainable collections, you can click here.