In our blog “Why it’s Time to Say Goodbye to Fast Fashion” we talked about fast fashion and how it negatively impacts the environment. Fast fashion refers to clothing designs that move quickly from the runways to stores in order to quickly meet new trends and consumer demand. Fast fashion clothing is produced rapidly at a low price point. For most of us, fast fashion makes impulse purchases of clothing easy and affordable because it tends to be quite inexpensive, trendy, and disposable. The quick turnaround times of fast fashion usually leads to lower-quality consumer-ready apparel that won’t last you a very long time. This is done in order to encourage consumers to update their wardrobes regularly throughout the year to keep with the constantly evolving trends.
Fashion is a $2.5 trillion sector and is the second most polluting industry on Earth. The pressure to reduce costs and speed up production time means that environmental corners are sacrificed in order to increase profit.
Why is Fast Fashion Bad for the Environment?
Clothing production requires a significant amount of energy and resources. It also relies heavily on toxic fabric dyes and other chemicals that pollute our water systems. As a result, fast fashion has a big environmental footprint, not only during its production but also when it reaches the end of its life cycle.
The fashion industry is responsible for a tenth of the world’s carbon emissions. Additionally, 20 percent of global wastewater pollution is derived from the process of dying textiles, making fashion the second most water polluting industry in the world. The wastewater from the fashion industry is released directly into rivers and streams, raising the risk of exposure to heavy metals people and wildlife living in the surrounding areas. Agricultural crops are another environmental concern on the production side of fast fashion. Non-organic cotton, which is one of the most commonly sold fabrics, is also an extremely water-intensive and pesticide heavy resource. Enormous amounts of waste are also produced at the disposal stage of a garment’s life cycle, with enough clothes to fill a garbage truck full being burned or sent to a landfill every second.
How Can I be a More Sustainable Shopper?
1. Buy less and opt for higher quality products
Most of us are guilty of buying more things than we need, especially when it comes to our wardrobes. Get into the habit of only buying something when you actually need it. You can also seek to extend the life of the clothing you have own by washing your clothing less and according to the label. Not only does washing your clothes less make them last longer, but it also reduces your carbon footprint. Additionally, when buying new, choose items that are of higher quality and will therefore last you a longer amount of time
2. Avoid fast-fashion brands and shop secondhand when possible
Research and buy from fashion companies who utilize more environmentally friendly methods, i.e. companies that are attempting to be more sustainable and make use of materials that are recycled. Shopping thrift is the best way to reduce your clothing footprint. It’s a great way to find high quality, unique garments at a fraction of the price of buying new. Just make sure that you’re familiar with the second-hand shop’s COVID-19 policies and the procedures they have implemented to ensure safety
3. Buy new clothing that are made of sustainable materials
As we talked about in our last blog post, a general guide the best materials are recycled. Also top of the list is organic materials, especially linen and hemp but also organic cotton. New, great, and increasingly popular fibers include Tencel (created from wood) and Monocel (from bamboo)
4. Think twice before you throughout an article of clothing
Instead, consider trying to repair or upcycle old garments. Sometimes with a bit of imagination, you can repair or even redesign a torn garment. If a garment in unsalvageable, donate it to charity.
Fast fashion (or as it is also commonly referred to, disposable fashion) encourages a “throw-away” attitude. Fast fashion clothing is produced inexpensively and is created in a style that will most likely be outdated relatively quickly. As we talked about today, the fast fashion industry has many negative implications for the environment and should be avoided. These are just a few ways that you can be a more eco-conscious shopper and help create a more sustainable planet. Remember to stay tuned on our blog to learn about other ways you can play your part for mother nature.