Interesting Facts about the Fashion Industry

1. 80 billion new clothes are purchased every year, an increase of 400% over the last twenty years 

The fashion industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two decades. In fact, 80 billion new pieces of clothing are consumed every year. That’s an increase of over 400%! [1]

The industry is also one of the most polluting industries in the world, second only to oil. 20% of all industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment. That’s more than the plastic industry!

2.An average US Citizen owns seven pairs of jeans

Americans own an average of seven pairs of jeans, with around half of them being worn at least once a month. In terms of apparel, denim is one of the most popular fabrics worldwide. [2]

3. T-shirts are more popular than any other piece of clothing and are sold in great numbers every year

T-shirts are the most popular clothing item, and over two billion are sold every year. Some people wear a new t-shirt every day; others, however, choose to wear them regularly or even weekly. [3]

They are so popular because they are affordable, and some people buy them in bulk.

4. In 1586, the first magazine devoted exclusively to fashion was published in Germany

The first-ever fashion magazine was published in 1586 in Germany by Jost Amman. The magazine was called Gynaeceum, sive Theatrum Mulierum, and only included a few illustrations. [4]

5. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world

You would think that fossil fuels would be one of the main pollutants in the world, but you’d be wrong. The fashion industry is actually responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions, making it the second most polluting industry globally. [5]

When you consider the production process, it’s not surprising that it causes so much damage to our planet. A typical t-shirt requires 700 gallons of water to make. [6]

6. The most popular jeans brand is Levi’s

Levi’s is the oldest jeans manufacturing company, founded in 1853. The Levi’s 501 jeans were invented in 1890, and from then onwards, it has been a favorite brand for many people around the world.

The first pair of Levi’s jeans was created in 1873 for California miners, who needed strong pants that could withstand their tough working conditions. The pants were originally called “waist overalls,” but the name was later changed to “jeans,” which is a derivation of the French word for Genoa, Italy. 

7. The fashion designer Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz

You’ve probably heard of the fashion designer Ralph Lauren. But did you know that his real name is actually Ralph Lifshitz? The designer changed his surname when he was 16 because he didn’t like its sound.

8. The red ruby slippers from the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” sold for $3 million in 2012

Designer Harry Winston created the famous red ruby slippers, which were sold for $3 million. The shoes—encrusted with 4,600 rubies totaling 90 carats and 50 carats of diamonds—were worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz. [7]

9. As a way to keep their brand exclusive, Louis Vuitton is rumored to burn off excess and old stock

It is rumored that Louis Vuitton burns off excess and old stock to maintain the brand’s exclusivity (supposedly to protect the brand from being sold at knock-down prices). This has been denied by Louis Vuitton, who claim they only burn defective products; however, some evidence suggests otherwise. If you want to learn more about the brand, read our article, How Did Louis Vuitton Become the Symbol of Luxury Fashion?

10. New York held the World’s first Fashion Week in 1943

The first New York Fashion Week was called “Press Week,” and it was actually just a press-only event meant to show off designs ahead of World War II. 

11. Fashion is a Multi-Million Dollar Global Industry

Fashion is an industry worth billions of dollars, with fashion-related spending in the US around $110.6 billion annually. The fashion industry also directly employs around 75 million people worldwide, making it one of the biggest employers globally. [8] [9]

In fact, the fashion industry is so big that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a department dedicated entirely to it! 

12. Queen Victoria was the first person to be married in a white wedding dress

You might not have known this, but Queen Victoria was the first person to wear a white wedding dress. Back in 1840, she wore a white gown for her wedding, and since then, it has become a tradition for all brides to wear white on their big day. [10]

13. Cotton, polyester, and linen are among the most common materials used in manufacturing.

Some of the most common materials in manufacturing include cotton, linen, polyester, and silk. These products are usually produced using fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful chemicals that are detrimental to the environment and the health of the people who cultivate these materials.

14. Some 7 million tons of textiles are wasted annually; however, only 12% of materials are recycled

The fashion industry is also one of the most wasteful in the world and responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions. Only 12% of the material used for clothing is recycled. [11]

15. Gucci’s “Gucci Genius Jeans” sold for $3,134

At one point, jeans were just for working farmers and mechanics. Today, everyone wears jeans, from business professionals to politicians. 

The Gucci Genius Jeans were among the most expensive jeans ever sold when they first appeared in 1998. They were almost impossible to find, and the ones that were brought in to stores could go for as high as $4,000 each.

Crafted by artisans in Florence, Italy, each pair was made from hand-stitched denim. Beaded and embroidered with patterns of flowers and feathers, they fit neatly on the long legs of models. [12]

16. LV was the First Designer Logo

The first designer logo was Louis Vuitton’s LV print, which is still being used today. Founded in 1854, the French fashion house Chanel has its headquarters in Paris, France.

In 1896, Georges Vuitton started using the famous LV monogram as a way to prevent counterfeiters from printing their reproduction of his new line of travel trunks. The monogram is one of the earliest examples of fashion branding. [13]

17. The bikini was invented in 1946

The bikini was created in 1946 by a French designer named Louis Réard. It is the smallest swimsuit in the world, and Réard named it after Bikini Atoll, a nuclear test site in the Marshall Islands. The reason for the name was that he believed that the hype surrounding his design would have as much of an impact on people as a nuclear bomb.

18. China exports the most fashion goods of any country in the world

In 2020, China and the European Union were the top-ranked global clothing exporters with shares of approximately 43.5 percent and 36.5 percent, respectively. China was also the leading textile exporter in the world. [14]

19. Nike and Louis Vuitton are the largest fashion companies in the world by value

Nike retains its title as the world’s most valuable apparel firm despite its recent challenges. According to data from Finance PR, the US company had a value of $30.44bn in 2021.

20. Handbags were invented in the 19th century

Handbags were first invented and used in the 19th century and have been essential for women ever since. The first bags were simple purses that women carried to carry money and other small items. Over time, they have evolved into a fashion statement.

In the 20th century, the rise of department stores caused the next evolution in handbags. Department stores began to focus on handbags as a way of showing off their store brands. The more famous the store, the more famous the handbag became. Department stores also began to use handbags as a way of advertising their own products. [15]

21. London, Milan, Paris, and New York hold the Big Four Fashion Weeks

New York, London, Milan, and Paris are the four major fashion capitals of the world. The four main venues for fashion week are Lincoln Center in New York City, Somerset House in London, The Fiera Milano in Milan, and Grand Palais in Paris. 

Other cities that host fashion week include Tokyo, Berlin, and Toronto.

22. An average American woman will spend approximately $125,000 on clothes

According to a survey, women spend an average of $125,000 on clothes over the course of their lifetime. But despite all the money spent on clothing, 60 percent of women say they struggle to find something to wear. [16]

23. An Haute Couture designer must receive an assent of approval from the Chambre Syndicale De La Couture, and only 14 fashion houses are approved

In the fashion world, an haute couture house is a brand recognized for its luxury goods, original designs, and high prices. There are strict criteria for haute couture houses. Brands must own a showroom in Paris with at least 15 full-time employees, and they must present at least 35 looks in a show twice a year. [17]

24. The fashion industry employs millions of people

According to The Business of Fashion, “the global apparel market is worth $1.7 trillion annually, with some 75 million people involved in making clothing and footwear around the world”. This makes it one of the biggest industries in terms of revenue and employment opportunities. [18]

25. The oldest piece of clothing

The oldest piece of clothing in the world is considered 30,000-year-old flax fibers, found in a cave in the Republic of Georgia. [19]