As fashion cycles speed up and companies find ways to produce clothing cheaper than ever before, fast fashion has become an increasingly popular phenomenon. Although stores like Zara and Forever 21 are a convenient place to go for trendy clothing without breaking the bank, it has quickly become apparent that fast fashion is neither a sustainable nor ethical option. Read on to learn about the negative impact of these mass produced items and what you can do right now to help.
Although fast fashion is appealing, consumers need to be aware of the environmental and ethical impact of their purchases.
The Environmental Protection Agency stated that the average American throws away nearly 70 pounds of clothing each year. This means that a garbage truck of clothing is dumped and burned every second in the United States.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation discovered that due to high amounts of transportation, the fashion industry is responsible for around 10% of global C02 emissions per year. At the rate fast fashion is rising this industry could use up to a quarter of the global CO2 budget by 2050.
Water pollution is also being affected due to clothing that is made from synthetic fabrics containing microplastics. A recent study by the Environmental Science and Technology discovered that up to 1,900 microplastic fibers can be shed when washing a synthetic clothing item through the wash once.
Overall, it’s important to notice where and how these clothing items are even mass produced. Factories often use sweatshops with unsafe conditions, long working hours and very low pay to keep up with the demand and changing trends.
So, what can you do to help?
Below we’ve provided you with some tips on how we as a society can take steps forwards to change for the better.
Start shopping from thrift stores. Thrift stores are a great way to revamp your closet without contributing to pollution caused by manufacturers.
Don’t just buy, donate. Donations keep thrift stores open (while keeping your closet open for new clothes). Just because you’re sick of your clothes doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it!
Be conscious of where you are buying clothes from. Buy from stores that use sustainable fabrics and have ethical labor practices. These clothes are better for the planet, and will last longer so they can get more use. For example, Patagonia makes their clothes from sustainable materials, and will repair them in store for free so you don’t have to throw it away. Some other stores that have ethical practices are Anthropology, LL Bean, and Free People.
Fix your clothes, don’t sell them. Avoid contributing to the 70% of fashion thrown away by mending holes, or finding a fun way to transform a rip into something trendy. There are many ways to lengthen the life of your clothes instead of simply tossing it out. Find a way that works for you and commit to doing it before throwing anything out!
Sign this petition to commit to changing your lifestyle. By signing, you will be pledging to be conscious of your fashion decisions in the future, and to stop contributing to the damages that the fashion industry is inflicting on the environment.
Although the fast fashion industry may seem daunting to take on, every action helps. The most important thing to do right now is to take the pledge to make more conscious choices for the future. Share this article with your friends and family so they can join the movement too!