Fast Fashion and its Implications on Our Planet
In theory, fast fashion is great, because it brings in-the-moment and on-trend clothes to you and I, at very affordable prices. It is rapidly produced by mass-market retailers in response to an ever-evolving fashion landscape. 52 seasons are being created a year, as opposed to the 4 seasons that exist in nature.
It is certainly a modern day luxury that we have such a wide array of clothing choices available to us. However, this inexpensive excess comes, at a large cost. Fast-fashion is affecting our planet. According to an article from Business Insider:
- Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams.
- 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year. The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second.
- Polyester, a plastic found in an estimated 60% of garments, does not break down in the ocean.
- The fashion industry is the second largest consumer of water worldwide. It takes 700 gallons of water to produce 1 cotton t-shirt, and 2,0000 gallons for one pair of jeans.
- Textile dying is the world’s second largest polluter of water.
Slow Fashion and Sustainability
Slow fashion brands are companies that have an ethos of responsibility and believe in sustainability. These companies are taking a more ethical approach to manufacturing clothes, in hopes to maximize the benefits to not only the industry, but to society at large. Unlike fast fashion companies that are creating for QUANTITY, slow fashion brands are creating for QUALITY. They encourage slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste.
With slow fashion, there is a holistic, purposeful and intentional approach to production. It looks at the connection between things and considers the whole product lifecycle. From finding and sourcing raw materials, to how their production impacts not just the environment but also people and communities. With an intention of zero waste, things are seen as PURPOSEFUL, not disposable. Therefore, they are created to be timeless, classic, artisanal and used for a long time.
Small Changes to Change
Not all fast fashion companies are bad. Many are trying to shift the way in which they operate and do business. Zara and H+M are two fast fashion companies that are beginning to make strides. If you want to stay informed on brands that are doing their part to combat this problem, check out the website Good on You. We can be informed, responsible and still support the fashion industry.
Shifting my consumer habits from fast to slow has been an evolution and journey. I think the first step towards change is just doing small things day to day that will have a larger impact in the future. I have begun shopping slower, which means, I am consuming less. My aim with fashion is to invest in timeless and natural pieces that I can wear year after year, season after season, and maybe, even pass down to my daughter one day. I won’t be perfect at it, as sometimes it comes down to affordability, especially when it comes to children’s clothes.
We as consumers and stewards of this earth, hold so much power through our choices and through how we spend our hard earned dollar bills. However and wherever you choose to shop, that is definitely something to feel empowered about! What do you think? Will you be less inclined to shop at fast fashion stores due to it’s impact on our planet? If not, what are the obstacles keeping you from doing so? Let’s start a dialogue!