Only one out of the dozen or so most commonly cited facts about the fashion industry’s huge footprint is based on any sort of science, data collection, or peer-reviewed research.
The rest are based on gut feelings, broken links, marketing, and something someone said.
This is what happens in the fashion sustainability space. One organization puts out a fact, and four other organizations link to it, and then nobody remembers or cares who first made the claim.
Here is an example. The idea that the average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing comes from a 2014 Evironmental Protection Agency report, but that data is inaccurate: It includes textiles like carpets and mattresses and garment factory waste.
Of course, nothing becomes more important just because you can measure it and measuring something doesn’t make it manageable, it just makes it measureable.
But if you want to change the sustainability footprint of fashion, it can only be understood and fixed by using the correct baseline, otherwise the discussion about change is meaningless.