Fast Fashion: What's it Costing our Environment?

Cheaply produced and priced garments that copy the latest catwalk styles and get pumped quickly through stores in order to maximize on current trends

Have you ever heard the saying "fashion fades, only style remains the same"? It's true! This day and age it's overwhelming and expensive to stay up with the latest fashion trends. As soon as you get on trend, you're off as the next trend is already out there. Not only are we buying into harmful consumerism for our planet, but also for ourselves! Let us share why.

Although clothes developed through fast fashion may be more affordable, the environmental cost is a lot greater:

  • Fashion production makes up 10% of our carbon emissions, which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

  • 85% of all textiles are thrown away in the trash each year.

  • People bought 60% more garments in 2014 than in 2000 & only kept the clothes for half as long.

  • The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second.

Fast Fashion Model

Fast fashion got its name due to involving rapid design, production, distribution and marketing. This enables retailers to be able to pull large quantities of greater product variety and allow consumers to get more fashion and product differentiation at a low price. Yet, such fast fashion companies don’t focus as much on the durability of the clothes they sell. Therefore, most fast fashion items only last a few wears and will eventually end up as waste.

The majority textiles made for fast fashion companies are made in developing Asian countries which have less strict environmental regulations and labor laws that allow fast fashion companies to mass-produce clothing without legal consequences. The companies tend to get away with things like:

  • Unlawful child labor and severe working conditions

  • Production involves toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes, and synthetic fabrics, which seep into water supply and skin

  • Second largest consumer industry of water, requiring about 700 gallons to produce one cotton shirt and 2,000 gallons of water to produce a pair of jeans

  • 35% of all microplastics- tiny pieces of non-biodegradable plastic- in the ocean come from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester

  • Production of making plastic fibres into textiles is an energy-intensive process that requires large amounts of petroleum

How to "Slow Fashion"

Slow fashion is the widespread reaction to fast fashion, the argument for hitting the brakes on excessive production, overcomplicated supply chains, and mindless consumption. It advocates for manufacturing that respects people, the environment and animals.

Now that we're hopefully on the same page that fast fashion is not worth it, let's get into some of the ways we can shop sustainably and still be stylish:

  • Buy staple pieces that can be versatile with other clothing pieces.

  • Opt to buy higher quality clothing made of more eco-friendly materials, such as recycled fabric. Synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are materials to avoid.

  • Shop secondhand for any wardrobe needs. Plus the hunt can be fun in finding specific or unique finds!

  • Rent your clothing from places like Rent The Runway.

  • Remember "Less is More"

  • Make sure to donate any clothing that no longer serves you instead of tossing.

  • Try to repair or alter any clothing that needs fixins'.

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