Synthetic clothes: the hidden polluter

I am absolutely heartbroken. If you’ve ever had a glance at my Instagram (@queeenvk with 3 e’s, don’t ask) you’ll know I am a fan and collector of Black Milk Clothing. Unfortunately almost every item they have is made from synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibres are polymers created by a chemical process and these polymers form plastics that are impossible to break down in a safe and toxic-free way.

Every year Black Milk releases a Halloween collection and unfortunately I couldn’t stop myself from purchasing a dress made of synthetic fibres because I was so excited about the pattern. The fabric is called burned velvet and I adore the feel of soft fluffy fabrics. Anyway, it breaks my heart that all of that synthetic velvet will create a lot of plastic microfibres purely through dust and shedding alone. Washing it in a washing machine would flush tens of thousands of microplastics down the drain. I decided to carefully hand wash the dress in the laundry sink with my soapberries and let it soak for only 45 minutes. When I came back I saw islands of floating microplastics across the top of the water. Unfortunately I didn’t have my phone with me so I didn’t take a photo. Here’s a picture of the soapberries for your interest.

Soapberries

I tried to filter off the plastic fluff and discard as much as I could but it was futile. Any fluff and dust produced by these clothes pollutes our environment. Last year I found out that 80% of the rubbish that we don’t put into the bin ends up in our waterways. All of that dust can end up in the ocean no matter what we try to do with it.

The Venus flytrap print on my new velvet dress from Black Milk Clothing

For now we will have to boycott purchasing any plastic clothing and fibres. But then what about socks?! Socks without some elastic fibre blend will fail to hold their shape. Wool socks aren’t an option because using animal products is so unethical. I’ve been boycotting purchasing animal products since I watched Dominion on YouTube. It’s a fascinating documentary, give it a watch! Although after watching it I’ve realised how difficult it is to live ethically in our current society. I just want to have stretchy fabric and wool, but it’s not that simple after all.

Sorry to be such a downer in this post! I just had to share this emotion with you all. Please share in the comments your feelings of how the textile industry is contributing to the pollution problem. Or any thoughts you’d like to put out there. Thanks so much for reading.