In today’s Finshots, we discuss fashion footprints and their environmental aftermath.

The Story

“Black Friday sale! 50% off on the latest fashion!”

“Flat 30% off on the new winter collection!”

“End of Season Sale — Buy 2 get 1 free!”

These ads are so compelling no? Like a bargain, you seemingly can’t miss. But you may have noticed something else too. The damned seasons! When it comes to apparel, there are so many seasons, you can almost lose count.

However, things weren’t always this way. Before the 2000s you largely had four seasons within the domain of mainstream fashion. You had Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. But international fashion brands — especially the likes of Zara and H&M rubbished this idea. They didn’t think clothes remained in style for 3–4 months. They believed styles change every week. And so they drove home this idea, quite well actually. So, we now have 52 “micro seasons” a year. And fashion brands can pad their bottom line by selling more apparel each year.

That’s fast fashion for you!

Although here’s the thing…in a bid to keep up with the trend ever so often, we are doing irreversible damage to the planet.

Between 2000 and 2014, we doubled clothing production — we now churn out a staggering 100 billion items of clothing every year! Also, the average person today buys 60% more clothes compared to 15 years ago. And you know what’s even worse? We dump them in half the time.

Okay…by ‘dump’ and ‘thrown away’, we don’t mean we’re donating to charity.

Not really. Sure, some of it finds its way to charitable causes. But most of it ends up going directly into landfills. If you want to visualize it — think of an entire garbage truck dumping clothes in a landfill every second! That’s how insane all of this is.

And guess how long it takes for these clothes to decompose?

Over 200 years!

The dress you bought today will likely remain on the planet till at least the year 2222!!! And it takes that long because most apparel today is made using synthetic, petroleum-based fibres. It’s not natural.

There’s more. We’ve only just tabulated the damage clothes do to the planet after production. What about before? During manufacturing?

10% of global CO2 emissions come from the fashion industry. That’s more than international flights and maritime shipping combined.

Then there’s water consumption. The fashion industry consumes about 100 trillion litres of water annually. Mostly because of cotton farming. Cotton is the most widely used natural fabric for clothing and it needs a lot of water. Higher demand for apparel also means we’re using excess fertilizers to keep up with demand. So as is, cotton thirsts for water, which means we’re depleting fresh and groundwater resources along with contaminating soil quality by bombarding them with fertilizers. For context, that cotton t-shirt you’re wearing needed 2,700 litres of water.

And jeans, about 3,800 litres of water. That’s the amount of water you drink in three years!

Then, there’s dyeing and treating fabric that ends up generating 20% of the world’s wastewater. Wastewater that contains phenol and heavy metals like copper, mercury and chromium. This polluted water seeps into streams and groundwater. Which we then use to irrigate crops. This contaminates the food and yeah, we fall sick sometimes.

In summary, the fashion industry is responsible for a triple planetary crisis. That’s just a spine-chilling term used to describe what the world is currently facing — climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

So the question is — how do we solve this?

Well, fast fashion brands are slowly taking steps to do their bit and control the damage. Zara for instance “recently committed to make 50% of all clothes with recycled materials and ecologically grown cotton, for the year 2022.” And H&M is encouraging its customers to bring back unwanted clothes so that they can recycle them.

And then there’s us.

Maybe we can be the solution ourselves by just not following every microtrend? After all, simply using apparel for an extra 9 months can reduce the carbon footprint by 30%!

Also, if you upcycle your old wardrobe, you could have a fresh collection that’s as good as new. You could tear up old jeans and make yourself a bag or even a pair of cool shorts. An old saree can even transform into a new lehenga.

So yeah, the next time you see a Black Friday or End of Season Sale, maybe just reconsider for a minute before you make that purchase.

Until next time…

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Ditto Insights: Why Millennials should buy a term plan

According to a survey, only 17% of Indian millennials (25–35 yrs) have bought term insurance. The actual numbers are likely even lower.

And the more worrying fact is that 55% hadn’t even heard of term insurance!

So why is this happening?

One common misconception is the dependent conundrum. Most millennials we spoke to want to buy a term policy because they want to cover their spouse and kids. And this makes perfect sense. After all, in your absence you want your term policy to pay out a large sum of money to cover your family’s needs for the future. But these very same people don’t think of their parents as dependents even though they support them extensively. I remember the moment it hit me. I routinely send money back home, but I had never considered my parents as my dependents. And when a colleague spoke about his experience, I immediately put two and two together. They were dependent on my income and my absence would most certainly affect them financially. So a term plan was a no-brainer for me.

There’s another reason why millennials should probably consider looking at a term plan — Debt. Most people we spoke to have home loans, education loans and other personal loans with a considerable interest burden. In their absence, this burden would shift to their dependents. It’s not something most people think of, but it happens all the time.

Finally, you actually get a pretty good bargain on term insurance prices when you’re younger. The idea is to pay a nominal sum every year (something that won’t burn your pocket) to protect your dependents in the event of your untimely demise. And this fee is lowest when you’re young.

So if you’re a millennial and you’re reading this, maybe you should reconsider buying a term plan. And don’t forget to talk to us at Ditto while you’re at it.

1. Just head to our website by clicking on the link here

2. Click on “Book a FREE call”

3. Select Term Insurance

4. Choose the date & time as per your convenience and RELAX!