As the founder of the leading sustainable fashion and zero waste editorial platform, vertemode.com, Aalia Mauro is often asked what made her become interested in sustainable fashion. After working as a fashion model, Mauro started working as a creative director where she witnessed firsthand how wasteful the fashion industry was and the impact of fast fashion on the environment. In fact, fashion contributes to more than eight percent of all greenhouse gases. If things continue on the path they’re on, by 2050, more than 25 percent of the entire global carbon budget will go to this one industry.
Mauro started her zero-waste journey slowly, buying items at the secondhand store and wearing clothes made by sustainable fashion designers. She launched vertemode.com to share her slow fashion and zero waste journey.
Today, Mauro works consistently to create campaigns to promote slow fashion, sustainable living, and empowering women.
Mauro is also on a mission to bust some common misconceptions about fast fashion.
Fashion has no impact on the environment— wrong!
Mauro says that one of the biggest misconceptions she’s out to expose is people believing that fashion has no impact on the environment. The exact opposite is true. The fashion industry has the highest use and pollution of freshwater. It takes about 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton t-shirt and 17 to 20 percent of industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment. For every ton of textiles made, 200 tons of water are polluted, the equivalent of 5,640,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Plus, the amount of clothing people throw out only adds to landfills and chemicals and dyes that further pollute the groundwater. Not only does it take 1/3rd pound of synthetic fertilizers to grow one raw pound of cotton, it also requires hazardous materials and chemicals to convert cotton into clothing. These chemicals, in turn, pollute the air, water, and soil.
Fast fashion is too expensive— wrong!
Cutting corners to cut costs can include utilizing child labor and paying factory workers pennies. In fact, the fashion industry funnels more money towards modern slavery than any other industry outside of tech. The rapid production of clothing is also one of the primary contributors of global pollution. The fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, which is more than the emissions from all international flights combined! Fast fashion also produces 20 percent of global wastewater, which is mostly caused by toxic textile dyes. This dye leaches into ecosystems, and micro-fibers from unsustainable fabrics (like polyester) pollute our waterways even further.
Finding sustainable brands is too hard— wrong!
We live in a world saturated with social media, the Internet, and non-stop chatter on up-and-coming innovations. Mauro believes that if there is a push and desire to find good brands, then there is a way. If you are on the hunt for sustainable brands, then look no further than your Google search bar. Searching the simple terms “sustainable fashion brands” feeds you a list of articles and blogs, on brands locally and abroad that can provide you with all you need to live a life of green power. The results bring up powerhouses like Vertemode, Refinery29, The Good Trade, and Marie Claire sharing their countdowns on amazing sustainable brands where you can get your fashion fix. There is even a directory provided by Eco Fashion World. Just search it, it’s simple as that; if not for you, then for your kids and their kids and their kids.