Most people put a lot of effort into how they look and what they wear. For a lot of consumers, wearing the same articles of clothing isn’t an option as they enjoy shopping and keeping up with current trends. Unfortunately, this mindset isn’t always the healthiest option for our environment.
There’s something seriously wrong with the current fashion industry.
It’s damaging our environment more than people are aware and fast fashion is the main culprit.
Fast fashion is clothing that is produced quickly and cheaply by large market retailers.
The only way that some things can be produced so rapidly at such a low price is because of the cheap, non-durable materials used and where and how it is manufactured.
Fast Vs Slow Fashion
It’s easy to make a fast-fashion choice when shopping for clothing. That’s because fast-fashion is usually the cheaper option. But is it really?
Think about all of the clothes that you’ve bought online or in-store for a great price only to receive a flimsy, low-quality product with wonky stitching. How long do these clothing items actually last?
The fact is, most fast-fashion is made from inexpensive and low-quality materials that are prone to wear and tear quickly. As opposed to slow-fashion, which are garments made from higher quality materials which generally last longer and look and feel better.
Slow fashion makes considerate choices as to the impact it will have on the environment and how the workers will benefit from making these garments.
Next time you purchase any textile, ask yourself, why is it so cheap? If you do the math you will realise that with the cost of the materials and the manufacturers time to make that one piece, it just doesn’t add up.
Impact on Environment
Fast fashion is a major pollutant to the environment. Globally, almost 60% of clothing ends up in landfill or incinerators within a year of purchasing. That is a lot of waste.
Aside from that, there are other contributors such as the types of dyes and microfibres that are apart of clothing and released into the environment.
These are also major problems to our ecosystem. Studies have proven that microfibres are the most ubiquitous human waste to be found along shorelines around the world, making up to 85% of all human-made materials.
Ways in which some fashion labels can produce clothes cheaply is by hiring workers overseas who are paid unfairly and made to work in indecent conditions. Some major companies that have been exposed to using these practises at some stage are H&M, Nike and Adidas.
Fair trade is an extremely important movement to have in mind when browsing the fashion industry. All workers from any part of the world have the rights to work in safe and fair surroundings and be paid rightly to what they are owed.
Ways to be a Sustainable Consumer of Fashion
- Choose materials that are of quality and which are sustainably and ethically manufactured. Read the labels of clothing before making the purchase to look for naturally-derived fabrics.
Some common sustainable textiles are: Wool, silk, linen, cotton, hemp, bamboo, and soy.
Some materials to avoid are: Polyester, nylon and spandex.
- Op shopping and clothing swaps.
- Rent instead of buy. Hiring a suit or formal dress that will most likely only be worn once for an event instead of buying it will save you money and reduce the amount of textile consumption.
- Minimalise, reduce the amount of clothing you purchase.
There’s no way we will see a change to our environment without making one.