The fashion industry has experienced a massive revolution (and I definitely don’t mean the liberating kind) with cheap, fast-produced clothing brands taking over our malls and high streets.
What do I mean by fast fashion?
Fast fashion is a term coined to describe the massive changes that have taken place in the fashion industry over the last 20 to 30 years.First, international markets have opened upand manufacturing has moved to the developing world. Second, advancements in production technology has changed the way clothes are made. Third, online selling capability has changed the way companies market to us and move product.
What has been the result?
We’re buying clothes more often. In fact…
The average American buys 400% more clothes than they did two decades ago!
We used to have four fashion seasons, but now we have 10 or even 15 seasons.
As fast fashion fuels the purchase of cheap, low quality clothing, we are disposing old clothing at an astonishing rate. Some might even say we’re living in a“disposable clothing” culture. Buy it cheap. Wear it once or twice. Donate it to charity where it is much more likely to be discarded to a landfill or incinerated than it is to be sold second-hand.
Sounds good, huh? More clothes? Cheaper clothes? Is it really a win for the consumer?
In the words of British journalist and writer Lucy Siegle: “…someone somewhere is paying”. And that someone is not just the person making your clothes in abysmal working conditions for less than a $1 a day (#whomademyclothes?) but the environmental pollution and impact that all of us ultimately pay the price for in a multitude of ways.
As our demand for clothes increases, producersuse up more and more of the Earth’s finite natural resources (like water and oil). Farming of cotton and other plants used to make fibers also increases without consideration for sustainable practices that protect local farmers and their communities. And, of course, waste from all of this production and consumption increases.
Untreated effluents are dumped on the streets or into rivers and eventually into groundwater systems, having a devastating impact not just on the planet but also on the health of the people living and working in the area.
Disposed waste fabrics end up in a landfill and take years to decompose while producing toxic greenhouse gases like methane that ultimately lead to climate change. Did you know that fabrics like polyester and lycra can take hundreds of years to decompose! More than this, large amounts of carbon dioxideis produced when waste fabrics are incinerated due to lack of space in the landfills.
We need to slow down!
Fashion is fun but looking good does not have to be at the cost of the planet or people. It’s worth it to be conscious about where and how we buy our clothing! Three good rules to follow are:
Fashion Rules to Live By
#1 Buy less
#2 Buy from ethical brands
#3 Buy used and upcycle
#4Recycle old fabrics
We understand that access to ethical fashion is not always easy but we’re here to help! Being an ethical consumer is a journey not a destination, so revel in the joy of making better choices.
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