Sustainable “Green” Apparel Manufacturing In
New York City by KD dance
It surprises many that KD dance is a Made To Order factory located in NYC. Meaning most items we actually make when we get the order and are able to ship it within a few days. This means we can offer many different styles in many colors from the same yarn and we don’t have to order mass amounts from overseas. We can do this by having the yarn colors at our factory ready to create all the different styles we offer.
Why is this important? It is not widely known but the apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil!
Meaning the world is paying a massive environmental price for all the mass-produced clothing that mega-corporate retailers produce to fill every store just in case somebody wants to buy it. Much of this clothing never gets sold or worn as they can’t even give it all away.
This is why before we ship customers their orders we email them a detailed letter with our sizing information so we can make needed changes before we make and ship the product and reduce exchanges and returns. While many customers read the descriptions that lead to our sizing chart. Quite often several do not. Especially on Amazon and eBay where our custom sizing chart is often hidden and hard to find.
At KD dance we make our clothing to last. We often hear from dancers who say they have been wearing the same sweater or pair of leg warmers for many many years and need to buy more because they were lost or stolen.
Considering this is all new information to many here are the Facts about the Environment and the Apparel Industry. Sustainable made to order manufacturing is in our future. KD dance has been doing it for over 30 years. While we all need to wear clothing at one time or another, we can reduce our footprint and waste.
Americans are blithely trashing more clothes than ever. In less than 20 years, the volume of clothing Americans toss each year has doubled from 7 million to 14 million tons or an astounding 80 pounds per person. The EPA estimates that diverting all of those often-toxic trashed textiles into a recycling program would be the environmental equivalent of taking 7.3 million cars and their carbon dioxide emissions off the road.
Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose.
- More than 150 billion garments are produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year.
- Americans throw away about 70 lbs of clothing per person every year.
- Fast fashion garments, which we wear less than 5 times and keep for 35 days, produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year.
- Cheap synthetic fibers also emit gasses like N2O, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2.
- Over 70 million trees are logged every year and turned into fabrics like rayon, viscose, modal and lyocell.
- Cotton is the world’s single largest pesticide-consuming crop, using 24% of all insecticides and 11% of all pesticides globally, adversely affecting soil and water.
- Plastic microfibers shed from our synthetic clothing into the water supply account for 85% of the human-made material found along ocean shores, threatening marine wildlife and ending up in our food supply.
- The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet.
- A quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles.
When natural fibers, like cotton, linen, and silk, or semi-synthetic fibers created from plant-based cellulose, like rayon, Tencel and modal, are buried in a landfill, in one sense they act like food waste, producing the potent greenhouse gas methane as they degrade. But unlike banana peels, you can’t compost old clothes, even if they're made of natural materials. “Natural fibers go through a lot of unnatural processes on their way to becoming clothing,” says Jason Kibbey, CEO of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. “They’ve been bleached, dyed, printed on, scoured in chemical baths.” Those chemicals can leach from the textiles and—in improperly sealed landfills—into groundwater. Burning the items in incinerators can release those toxins into the air.
Meanwhile, synthetic fibers, like polyester, nylon, and acrylic, have the same environmental drawbacks, and because they are essentially a type of plastic made from petroleum, they will take hundreds of years, if not a thousand, to biodegrade.