Fast fashion is a term that is used to describe the cheap, mass-production of clothes that are designed to keep up with the constantly changing fashion trends. The fast fashion industry causes pollution that creates long term damage to the environment, but exacerbates the effects of climate change. Society’s knowledge of the impacts around fast fashion is developing, however, the nation's addiction to new clothing is more damaging to the planet than you may think. The fashion industry emits 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for more than both the aviation and shipping industries combined, making it one of the most damaging industries to the environment.
5 facts about fast fashion
The world uses an estimate of 80 billion pieces of clothing every year, this is a 400 percent increase from two decades ago. - The True Cost.
Half a million tons of plastic microfibers are dumped into the ocean every year, the equivalent of 50 million plastic bottles. - World Economic Forum
100 billion clothing items are produced each year. - Earth.ORG
The equivalent to one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second.- World Economic Forum
Buying one white cotton shirt actually produces the same amount of emissions as driving 35 miles in a car- WRAP
What you can do to help:
The following points are going to highlight steps that you can take to become a sustainable fashion consumer and help to reduce the hard impacts that are affecting the world's climate. Whilst companies within the fashion industry are developing to make more sustainable ways of distributing clothing, society must take part too. Here are some things that you can do now to help reduce the rates of pollution caused within the fast fashion industry.
Buy and sell second hand clothing
Charity shops have offered a chance for people to buy clothes that are second-hand for a reasonable price for many years. However, there are now popular social media sites such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace that allow you to buy second-hand clothing.
There has also now been a rise within social platforms such as Depop and Vinted. These are apps that have been designed so that people have a chance to earn money by selling their pre-loved unwanted clothes. This also encourages people to re-sell their unwanted clothes for monetary gain and prevents waste, reducing the carbon footprint of fast-fashion.
Rent your clothes
Next time you have an upcoming event and you find yourself stressing that you don’t have a new outfit to wear, instead of going online to purchase items of clothing from an online retailer to the realise that you will probably only end up wearing the outfit once, consider using a clothing rental service. Fashion rental is a continuously growing industry which has benefits for both people and the environment.
Make sure that you are conducting your research
It is important to start making conscious decisions around the places that you are choosing to shop at. Luckily, over the past couple of years, many companies have started to get onboard with using environmentally friendly fabrics and sustainable ways of clothing production to reduce the amount of pollution damage to the environment. This is why it is important that you do your research before buying clothing that could not be environmentally friendly. For example, a popular brand that supports these views creates a sustainable brand is Pangaia, their goal is to design an earth positive business model with products better for the planet.
Conducting your research is a great way to find sustainable clothing brands, however, greenwashing is a term that you should be aware of when researching companies. Green washing describes how companies often mislead their customers to believe that they are more sustainable than they really are by producing misleading labelling on products.
After reading all of the points and facts around the fast fashion industry, if you are not already choosing to live sustainably and making smart choices around your fashion consumption, try adapting your lifestyle to add in some of these pointers to help make a change as well as a bigger impact on the world's climate.