Project Title: Environmental and Humanitarian Concerns Associated with American Textile Production in China
BASIS Advisor: Erin Vander Wall
Internship Location: BASIS Independent McLean
The textile industry produces billions of garments each year, contributing $2.4 trillion to global manufacturing and employing over 300 million people around the world. Due to this, consumers now view ready-made garments as "disposable" due to the tremendous expansion in global trade and manufacturing capability. Fast-fashion, analogous to fast-food in that it involves far more efficient techniques of production and manufacture (fabric crops) to fulfill global-demands, has grown as a result of the perception that clothing is disposable. According to The Atlantic, the average American purchases a new article of clothing every five days. In order to feed such immense demand at low prices for consumers, the textile industry cuts costs in other areas, often causing enormous environmental problems such as excessive water-use, chemical pollution, and carbon emissions and humanitarian damages such as low wages and hazardous work conditions. My research aims to explore how American textile companies, specifically ones that manufacture overseas, contribute to the environmental and humanitarian concerns surrounding fast fashion, and how American citizens can engage in solutions to address such concerns. Through peer-reviewed case-studies ranging from China to Ethiopia, many papers have already proposed methods to solve issues discussed in the paper (e.g. buying sustainable fabrics). Therefore, I also designed surveys to test the viability of the solutions by asking participants what solutions they would willingly support/implement. By revealing more information at regular intervals followed by the same questions, I aim to find which proposed solutions to mass-manufacture of clothing may be viable.