In recent years, the implications of ‘fast fashion’ have become ever more apparent.
The term ‘fast fashion’ refers to the quick production of inexpensive clothing by mass-market retailers in response to the demand for the latest trends and it is thought to have begun in the early 2000s. Fast fashion ensures that new designs move quickly from the catwalk to our local stores and by doing new trends are sold at a cheaper rate. The problem with fast fashion is that in order to meet the consumer’s demand, these clothes are produced quickly and also without environmental considerations. Through the use of cheap and toxic textile dyes, this means of production is becoming such a problem that the fashion industry is thought to be the second-largest polluter of clean water globally after agriculture. In 2015, the industry accounted for 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2. The use of non-renewable resources (such as oil to make synthetic fibres) has been theorised to increase from 98 million tonnes (which was measured in 2015) to 300 million tonnes by 2050.
We need to address this issue and make some changes if things are to improve. So, how can you stop buying into this damaging habit? I’ve made a list of things to consider next time you think about revamping your wardrobe.
Upcycle Your Current Clothes
This little technique will save you money and also teach you a new skill. There are loads of ways to do this, you could use oxygen bleach to transform a plain black t-shirt and make it into something entirely new, you could sow a design to cover a hole, or you could get inventive with tie-dye. The possibilities are endless and they won’t cost you a penny and you can be sure that whatever trend you want to wear it’ll be entirely your own.
I know that this might not always sound appealing but you’d be surprised at what you might find – one person’s trash is another’s treasure, or so the saying goes.
Buy with Foresight
When you’re choosing what to buy ask yourself if you really need it. Will it give you what you want? This will help us make more conscious purchasing decisions and reduce impulse buying (which we all know can be a very easy thing to do!) If you buy things with more consideration, they will mean more to you and you’ll probably cherish them for longer.
This movement aims to address the humanitarian issues woven into the fashion industry. There have been many fatal occurrences in relation to the fashion industry, and the Workers Rights Consortium provides a staggering representation of repression, violence, attacks, and intimidation of workers in Bangladesh who were simply campaigning for a living wage and were currently getting paid as little as 35p per hour.
In 2018, 3.25 million people took part during fashion week to ask #WhoMadeMyClothes? And this demonstration of awareness is making a difference.
Since #WhoMadeMyClothes began, Mark & Spencer now publish a list of its suppliers as do many other brands such as Asos, H&M, and Levi’s. This is to show the consumer where their clothes are made in the hopes that they will be portrayed as ethical. Companies are now not only worried about what the consumer will think of the product but also its origin.
Buy Less, Buy Better
Even if some purchases you make may be more expensive, they will last longer and ultimately be worth what you paid for. In our consumerist mindset, buying more equates to happiness and this is why there are so many variations of the same thing. We should reconsider this and remember that things don’t correspond with satisfaction, if they did then they wouldn’t need to bring out new trends, so appreciate what you already have and keep this in mind when buying new clothes.
Find Ethical Shops Online
More and more stores are beginning to consider the sustainable impact of their business. It is easier and cheaper to fill your wardrobe with at the shopping centre but if we don’t demand sustainable clothing then we will never have an alternative.
We have to remember that fast fashion exists because of the demand we as consumers place upon it. If we change what we want and demand more eco-friendly and humanitarian options instead of cheap knock off designs then the industry will ultimately supply. If the consumer demonstrates their conscientiousness then the industry will follow; we have to call them out and demand change if change is ever to happen.