Have you ever found a crazy good deal(too good to be true) on a piece of clothing? Maybe that floral skirt, that you bought for just 300 bucks! Have you noticed that before fashion changed according to the season; we had the Summer, Spring, Fall & Winter collections. However, today, we have a new collection almost every fortnight.
Unfortunately, the signs that you’ve been picking up are all symptoms of the fast fashion industry. This industry instils ‘a need’ in all of us – a need to be more fashionable, a need to discard clothes more quickly and a need to buy more. This fast fashion shopping therapy is putting a massive strain on our environment and endangering lives in the bargain.
“Clothing production is the third biggest manufacturing industry after the automotive and technology industries. Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined”House of Common Environmental Audit Committee, 2019
So what’s all this fuss about ‘fast fashion’?
“Fast fashion is an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasises making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.” Definition by the Merriam Webster
How does the fast fashion industry operate?
Have you ever noticed how quickly some brands change and update their collections in the span of one year? To keep our greed alive, these brands produce clothes rapidly using cheap labour; that’s how we get new collections faster and for the lowest price.
“We have a greed With which we have agreed You think you have to want More than you need Until you have it all you won’t be free.”Eddie Vedder
What is the problem with fast fashion?
- Large Water footprint: Did you know that our one basic plain white tee uses around 2700 litres of water. Insane right? Unfortunately, it goes deeper than that here’s the lifecycle of a typical cotton tee shirt
- Dangerous working conditions & human rights violations: The truth about the workers in the fast fashion industry is something most people are blind to. 85% of these workers comprise of women who are abused mentally, physically and even sexually. The conditions are unspeakable, the work hours long, and the pay is extremely low. Here’s a documentary that uncovers the horrid truth of these factories. Additionally, these industries employ children who work with hazardous substances and unsafe conditions. Remember the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh?
- Trashy Fashion(literally!): It’s safe to say that fashion is synonymous with trash. The dyes and chemicals from our clothes percolate into the earth, causing soil and water contamination. Most of our clothes are made with petrochemical-based materials which are non-biodegradable. Our old clothes break down into small pieces called microfibers. Animals consume these microscopic fragments of plastic, once consumed, microfibers accumulate up the food chain. According to Bioaccumulation, the animals on top of the food chain have the highest concentration of contaminants – that’s us!
Even if we encourage people to recycle more, we have to remember that recycling is a resource intensive process relying on chemicals and vast amounts of energy.Greenpeace.org
How can I indulge less in fast fashion?
- Less is more: Goes without saying, buy less and buy what you need. By shopping for clothes based on utility, we can curb our need to shop based on baseless trends.
- Used > New: We can reduce the carbon and water footprint exponentially by investing in a used pair of jeans( making just this is 10,000 litres of water) or other clothing instead of buying a new one.
- Love ’em and keep ’em for longer: Let’s stop impulse buying, instead let’s spend some time thinking what we are going to do with that piece of clothing and how we’re going to use it. Another easy alternative is to hold onto our clothes for longer and pair them well, so we don’t have to replace them often.
- A friend in need is a friend who clothes swaps indeed: Organise and indulge in more clothes swaps with your friends and family. It will not only refresh your closet but also get you new clothes for FREE! This is our favourite tip!
- Ask a lot of questions & don’t take marketing at face value: When shopping from a sustainable clothing brand, check tags, see where it’s made and ask a ton of questions, these are our rights as awakened, conscious customers.