Fossil Fashion: Meaning & Significance

Day-by-day, the demand for fashion is growing very fast. People of the younger generation are fashion-loving; they want everything distinctively designed and available whenever they want. In order to meet such a demand, the fashion industry is more likely to use fossil fashion. Though fossil fashion is able to fulfil the growing demand of the market, but such types of garments are not environment friendly, as most of the products can either not be recycled or recycling technology has not been set up till date. So, it creates an unmanageable amount of garment waste. Several reports state that the use of clothes manufactured by using fossil fuel is a direct threat to the environment.

What is the Meaning of Fossil Fashion?

Fossil fashion is a comprehensive term, which is used for those fashion industries whose dependency on fossil fuel has increased. The term is also used for fashion products, which are made up of artificial fibers extracted from fossil fuels. In fact, most of the fibers that are used in the fashion industry are polyester, which primarily relies on oil extraction. As per the report, the manufacturing of polyester, which started in the late 1960s and early 1970s, is the most commonly used raw material in the fashion industry. This is the reason that in the last 50 years, polyester production has increased multiple times.

Demand for garments is increasing day-by-day and producing fabrics and garments by using only the fiber (raw materials) produced naturally is not competent enough to meet the growing demands. Secondly, the prices of polyester garments are comparatively low and fit into the budget of the lower income group. For these two reasons, fossil fashion became popular in the garment industry and also became the first choice of people of the lower income group.

Likewise, fossil fashion includes:

1. Dependency of fossil fuels and

2. Using raw materials such as fibers, polyesters, etc. extracted from fossil fuels.

Why Has Fossil Fashion Become a Global Issue?

As per the recent report, synthetic fibers that are used in the textile industry share about 1.35% of global oil consumption, which possibly will double in coming years. And, all of us know that polyester or synthetic fiber is non-biodegradable and there is the least chance to recycle such a product. Hence, the garbage of polyester left by the textile industry and also the old garments dumped by the consumers is a huge issue in today’s world. Such garbage creates environmental pollution and landfill problems.

What Can Be Done to Control It?

This is an unquestionable truth that in a normal way of life, we are unable to cope with the increasing amount of garment waste produced by the textile industry, which exclusively depends on fossil fuels. As a result of this, waste produced by the textile industry in such a way, if not controlled, may contribute to catastrophic levels of climate change. Another fact is that we cannot expect the fashion industry to take solely precautionary and voluntary measures to reduce pollution. Therefore, there is a need to take a collective step in the form of:

1. The government needs to make some strict rules in reference to use of polyester or other such non-biodegradable products.

2. The textile industry needs to rely more on natural fiber than artificial fibers and also needs to develop a proper system to manage the waste produced by them.

3. We need to develop technology, through which fiber-to-fiber recycling can be done and also need to create a system to collect the used textiles for reuse, repair, and recycling.

4. Last but not the least, being consumers, we should avoid using polyester products and try to use only sustainable fashion by using only eco-friendly products.


Moreover, when we consider the environmental damage caused by various types of human activities, we are at an alarming point in terms of taking serious and sincere steps to conserve the environment. Reducing the use of fossil fashion is definitely an essential and primary step to protect not only the environment but also the entire human race.


1. Changing Markets Foundation. Fossil Fashion (URL –

2. Changing Markets Foundation. Fossil Fashion (URL -

3. Changing Markets Foundation. Fossil Fashion: The Hidden Reliance of Fast Fashion on Fossil Fuel (URL -

Updated on: 13-Oct-2022


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