Fast-fashion is bad for everyone. Fast fashion has been taking over your
city, your country, your world. But many people still do not recognize the term.
So…What is fast fashion anyways? Fast fashion describes the majority of the
clothing industry that strives to churn out massive quantities of cheaply made
clothes as quickly as possible. Sounds like a trend chasers paradise
right? Stores like H&M Zara and forever 21 hook you in with weekly, sometimes
even daily new styles. In fact the average American bought approximately 40
new pieces a year in 1990. This number jumped to 66 in 2019. But why does this
matter? Shouldn’t we be happy people have access to cheap clothes and weekly
fashion trends? Well, the low monetary price of fast
fashion is in stark contrast to its humanitarian and environmental cost. Environmental cost of fast fashion.
Clothing is a big deal. Everyone needs it, everyone wears it. This is probably why
fashion is considered by many the second largest polluting industry after the oil
industry. And if we are speaking about oil, we must speak of polyester. Polyester
is a synthetic fabric found in most of our clothes today. It is a plastic fiber
that requires almost 70 billion barrels of oil to produce one year’s worth at
our current rate. This is due to the staggering one hundred and fifty billion
garments produced each year. It’s kind of funny that many people have been calling
for a straw ban, yet we wear and throw away plastic in our clothes every day.
Polyester as a fabric sheds plastic microfibers that pollute to the world’s
waters as well as our own drinking supplies. And it won’t just go away. Polyester can take up to 200 years to
decompose, meaning the problem just gets bigger and bigger. It is therefore no
surprise that 57% of plastic found washed up on a beach in Taragon Spain
was from textiles. Cotton. A great alternative to synthetic fibers are
natural fibers. Unfortunately, the most common of these is cotton. Cotton is a
very water intensive crop estimated to be responsible for 25% of pesticide use.
Whether your clothes are made from polyester cotton or nylon, they will be
spending the rest of their lives in a landfill, and that is worth thinking
about. The humanitarian aspect. Nature is not the only victim of this industry.
There are countless human lies being exploited so fast fashion companies can
keep up the low cost and high profits they have been enjoying for far too long.
Hardcash Productions reached out to incredibly brave people in Bangladesh to
reveal the horrific human rights abuses that come with fast fashion. Workers in
Bangladesh fast fashion factories make below living wage, work overtime and
suffer physical and verbal abuse. The factories employed children as young as
13 in buildings that are close to collapsing. Some even double padlocked
the fire escape to ensure no one can leave. Many have lost their lives or
limbs in easily preventable industrial disasters. So what can we do? The situation seems
overwhelming and a little hopeless right? However, the sheer scale of this problem
means that there is a lot of room for improvement. Facing this problem head-on
could potentially have drastic positive effects. Needless to say it is imperative
that we do something about it NOW. Luckily, there are a lot of things that
can be done. Many of these alternatives can even save us money!
One: avoid fast fashion brands and buy high quality clothes that will last for
a long time as well as looking for natural durable fibers. Two: buy only the
clothes that you need and mend the clothes you have. Stretching the lifetime
of your clothes by sewing, patching, or simply wearing them longer instead of
moving on to new fashion trend, can go a long way. Elizabeth
L Klein. author of “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion”
has estimated that by wearing a piece of clothing for nine months longer, your
carbon footprint for that piece can be reduced by 30%. Three: donate or reuse old
clothes. Old shirts can be turned into handbags, braided dog toys, rags and much
more. Four: shop second-hand and don’t turn your nose up at hand-me-downs. Thrift
Shops. Thrift shops have a lot of the same benefits of fast fashion without
the environmental consequences. At the right thrift shop, one can get their
clothes dirt cheap and find something new every week
or sometimes every day. Scouring the second-hand shops can often result in
finding unique and high quality clothing, diverting them from the landfill. Many
thrift shops are also run to support nonprofit
organizations, creating positive change in the community. Don’t buy into
the cycle of waste: reduce, reuse, repair.