We live in a very wasteful society…and the fast fashion industry is one of the most wasteful industries out there. For anyone who’s not aware, fast fashion is a term for trendy, inexpensive, generally low-quality clothing produced by mass-market retailers. Stores that sell fast fashion items include Forever 21, H&M, Topshop, Old Navy, and Fashion Nova — among many, many others.
The fast fashion industry is really not a very nice industry at all. It’s one that mass produces clothing and accessories that are not made to last — and at a rate that is not sustainable by any stretch. So many fast fashion items end up in the landfills and also, unfortunately, in oceans. And that’s because there’s just not enough land space for all the waste being created. Fast fashion items are also generally made by workers who are, many times, forced to work in unsafe conditions for long hours, have very few human rights, and are earning minimal amounts of money while companies are earning billions…which is shameful. Clothing is commonly made with dangerous chemicals, which are harmful to our own health and also to the environment (textile dyeing pollutes so much fresh water every year and textile production creates an immense amount of greenhouse gas emissions). Crazy amounts of fresh water are needed to dye clothing (approximately 200 tons to dye one ton of clothing), meanwhile there are hundreds of millions of people in the world who don’t have any access to clean drinking water.
The fast fashion industry is one that I do my very best to no longer directly support, and I think it’s something that, as a society, we need to move away from. The fast fashion industry is simply not sustainable and all this mass production of cheap clothing and accessories is having a negative impact on our whole world. It just can’t continue.
So what can we do to change this? Here are some of my tips!
1. If you can afford it, choose to shop for sustainable clothing pieces. They are more expensive, but they’re definitely more ethical.
2. If you can’t afford to shop for sustainable clothing pieces, then lessen the amount of stuff you buy. Try not to buy something just because it’s on-trend and it’s cheap.
3. Choose classic pieces that will last in your wardrobe for years to come.
4. Go thrifting for clothes! There are so many cool items in thrift stores and a lot of it is super unique.
5. Help your clothing pieces last: wash them in cold water and dry them on a line or rack, rather than in the dryer.
6. Share clothes among your friends!
7. When your items are no longer wearable, find out where you can donate your textiles for reuse.
To read more about the fast fashion industry, check out: