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LA Fashion Industry: Textile Waste Giant

Being a globally renowned fashion hub, it comes to no one’s surprise that Los Angeles County is also a top domestic manufacturer of textile goods. Home to over 1200 fashion brands, the county boasts the largest concentration of textile manufacturing plants in the United States. If a garment says it’s “Made in the United States” then there is an 83% chance it was manufactured in the greater LA-area, according to the California Fashion Association.

However, amidst the glitz and glamour of LA's fashion scene, there's an urgent need to address the fashion industry's wasteful practices and environmental impact. According to a 2022 report by LA City Sanitation and the California Product Stewardship Council, the city collects approximately 75,000 tons of textile waste in just one year alone! Textile waste is one of the largest pollutants released by the fashion industry. As the second largest pollutive industry on the planet, it has emerged as a significant contributor to global environmental degradation. Just the textile manufacturing process accounts for approximately 10% global carbon emissions, 20% global water pollution and is a top 5 industry for forced labor practices.

Waste is inevitable in the production process. It falls on the skills of industry designers to minimize the surpluses wasted during the product’s lifetime-from production to the end of its consumption period. There are many up and coming LA County brands that have built their business model around sustainability, such as Sway Sew Shop, Hamilton Perkins Collection, Rewilder, For Days, and The Reformation. We hope to see Los Angeles’s fashion scene incorporate sustainability into their work moving forward.


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