By now, we are all aware of fast fashion and the environmental impact it has, but we may be less aware of the actions we can take towards reducing this impact. This article will provide you with some advice that you can implement into your life to help reduce environmental impact caused by fashion.
What is fast fashion
"Fast fashion describes low-priced but stylish clothing that moves quickly from design to retail stores to meet trends, with new collections being introduced continuously... fast fashion is also associated with pollution, waste, the promulgation of a "disposable" mentality, low wages, and unsafe workplaces."
In other words, fast fashion is fashion at a higher cost than is anticipated.
Something we often overlook is how we treat our clothes. Ensuring that your clothes do not shrink or get ruined in the wash, will prevent them from being thrown away and makes them last longer. This guide from Whirlpool, on how to prevent clothes from shrinking, can provide you with some useful tips that may be overlooked.
Purchasing sustainable fashion would be a good option, as it's both ethical and environmentally friendly. The Good Trade is a website worth visiting, as it delivers information on the best and most affordable clothing brands that are sustainable, and it even looks into specific emerging styles like streetwear.
Minimising your wardrobe is easier said than done. With constantly changing trends and personal styles, we always desire new things. Renting an outfit is a great way to not add more items to your wardrobe. The independent rated some of the best fashion rental services in the UK including Hurr Collective, Cocoon Club and more.
Alternatively, swapping clothes is another option. Perhaps you could swap clothes with friends or family, or you can also do it online. Depop and Vinted not only allows you to personally sell your clothes online and make some money, which is another way to help your clothes be reused, but it also allows you to request and negotiate a swap with another seller if you are interested in their items.
The least unknown method would probably be to shop second hand, which is not only sustainable, but it also funds charitable work. Vogue rated the best charity shops in the UK, check it out to know where to look for the best clothing items.
Repairing and recycling
Furthermore, for those who would like to take on a new hobby, sewing classes could be a great way to learn how to upcycle your clothes. A local sewing class may not be accessible to you, but online courses provide you with flexibility to learn whenever you can and want to, and a lot of them are for free, like:
Otherwise, the article by Sustainable Jungle provides you with information on companies that offer recycling programs for your clothes, around the world, so you do not have to worry about trying to learn how to do it yourself or be upset about having to throw away your favourite piece of clothing.
For clothing items that you cannot personally recycle or repair, you can dispose of these at local recycling points, that can even be found in high street retailer stores. If you are not aware of where to find one, use this locator from recycle-more.
Projects and incentives to look into
We shouldn’t be expected to solely try and eliminate this problem. Companies should be enforced to take more action and to operate more responsibly. Inspiration can be taken from these organisations for their unique projects and actions.
Vestiaire Collective, a marketplace for second hand designer clothing, is taking three steps to fight fashion waste. The first step was to ban fast fashion as they do not want to be part of an “outdated and exploitative system”. The second step involves Vestiaire Collective to work alongside the Or Foundation; a non-profit organisation working for environmental justice, education, and fashion development. The third step is to create systematic change by realising extended producer responsibility at governmental level.
A current project by the Or foundation that is worth mentioning, would be the “No More Fast Fashion Lab”, where materials are investigated to create circular product designs and waste management solutions, through recycling and upcycling processes.
Additionally, “Minimakers”, a now inactive project by the Or foundation, allowed students to learn how to sew, dye and reconstruct clothing by using donations that were in undignified condition, from local charity shops. This would be a great project to revive and implement in schools to help teach the next generation how to recycle and reuse their clothing, helping them last longer or be transformed into something new and unique.
To Find out more about the Or foundation or to donate to help fund projects like the No More Fast Fashion Lab, click the link below:
Lastly, The Money Saving Expert gives you a list of high street stores that will trade old clothing and shoes for coupons, for example "£5 off a 25+ spend". Some of the stores provided were Schuh, Nike, M&S and H&M.
"Of the 100 billion garments produced each year, 92 million tonnes end up in landfills".
Fashion Revolution says that the industry:
"contributes approximately 2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in a single year".
By choosing sustainable brands and finding ways to recycle, repair or reduce our wardrobe, you can reduce your waste and save space by not filling landfills. Take action now and inform others of the solutions.