Episode 135
Oct 15, 2019

Your outfit is trash

Fast fashion, cheap production and other market forces are drastically increasing clothing's effect on climate change.

One survey found an item of clothing is worn just seven times on average.

What happens to those clothes when we’re done with them, they go out of style or lose a button? Maybe we donate them or sell them, but too often we throw them away.

The clothes we wear are tied to climate change as much as what we eat or how we get around. Changing consumer habits, cheap production and a host of other factors mean the impact of clothing on the environment has drastically increased.

That’s the argument Dana Thomas makes in her new book “Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes.” Thomas is based in Paris, and she’s been on the fashion beat for 30 years, covering both luxury brands and fast-fashion giants. This week, she helps us unpack the factors tying clothes to climate and some solutions on the horizon, from clothing rentals to lab-grown leather.

By the way: Keen listeners will know this week was supposed to be our sixth Explainathon. Kai Ryssdal isn’t feeling well, and we had a couple other things coming up, so we’re waiting on that a couple more weeks. The good news is you have more time to submit your questions! Here’s how.

Listening makes you smarter…
donating makes it all possible.

You asked for it, and we delivered: “Make Me Smart” is now coming to you five days a week, helping you make sense of what’s happening every day.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on your investment in the essential service we provide.

Support “Make Me Smart” today to keep public service journalism going strong.

The team

Molly Wood Host
Jody Becker Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sam Anderson Associate Producer