Fast fashion defined as cheap, trendy clothing items that are inexpensive to design, manufacture and get out on the store floor is leaving a massive carbon footprint. It's model is based off of the idea of encouraging over-consumption and generating excessive waste. However, we can make a difference if we remember to stay aware of what we wear.
The fashion industry as a whole has greatly harmed the environment. Fast Fashion brands use toxic chemicals, harmful dyes and synthetic fibers that pollute all water supplies in the foreign countries where the clothing produced, as well as at home once we have washed our items. A study found that nearly 17% of young people reported that they wouldn't wear an outfit again if they had already posted a photo of it on Instagram.
Every year, nearly 11 million tons of clothing is thrown away. That means tons and tons of lead, harmful chemicals and pesticides, which are difficult to break down (not biodegradable or compostable) are being released into the environment. Fast Fashions carbon footprint is making the oil and air travel industries look better than ever. This industry is responsible for 10% of humanity's carbon emissions, which is more emissions than flights and maritime shipping combined.
What's more is that, 85% of all textiles go to the landfill each year. That is about enough to annually fill Sydney Harbor in Australia. And washing some types of clothes sends thousands of mircofibers into the oceans, rivers and water supplies.
Learn about Slow Fashion
Many people are not happy with Fast Fashion. People are starting a new movement, Slow Fashion, in which garments are consciously and mindful manufactured with natural and long lasting materials.
Slow Fashion is also known as Conscious Fashion. Brands are becoming more transparent and honest with who is making the garments, how they are being produced and what the process actually is. Buying garments from a brand that openly talks about their materials, sources and production is key!
What can you do?
We can start by asking, #whomademyclothes ?
Buying garments from a well-known and recognized responsible brand who remains transparent of how and where their fabrics and garments are made will ensure that you are caring for the earth and its inhabitants , whilst still being fashionable.
Remember that buying less is actually more! Investing in reasonable and long lasting garments with natural materials is important. Additionally, you can even take the 30-wear pledge, in which when buying an item you ask if you would wear it at least 30 times! If you hesitate or say no, then don't buy it!
As a general rule of thumb, the best materials are recycled – nylon, polyester, cotton and wool, so you can look for these on clothing tags! Definitely look out for organic materials, especially linen and hemp and also cotton! New, great and increasingly popular fibres include Tencel (created from wood) and Monocel (from bamboo).
Overall, do your research into brands, how they work, who is producing their garments and what type of garments they are producing (fast and unsustainable or slow and ethical?).
For starters, we recommend the “True Cost Documentary” as well as checking out the Good On You App!