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Why Is The Disposable Nature of Festival Outfits Problematic?

Festival fashion is the perfect time for us to express ourselves without judgement for seeming too ‘out’ there. This is where fast fashion brands like PrettyLittleThing and Missguided come in handy due to their cheap nature and the fact that these clothes are easily disposable. Often the materials of these clothes are low quality, designed to last only a few wears.

There are many issues with festival outfits, from the very production of the outfit to the final outcome of the outfit being put into wasteland.

Production of the outfit:

Often harsh chemicals are needed in order to make the outfit. This can include using oil in order to make synthetic materials like polyester. The oil industry itself is the world’s leading contributor to carbon emissions, therefore this process is adding to an already damaging industry.

During production of the materials we also have to take into account the workplace rights of those making our clothes. Often these clothes are made in sweatshop environments, with long hours and little pay. There is often a risk of health implications as well working in an environment that is not monitored by an overseeing body. This is overall a very unethical industry that we should all actively be trying to avoid.

Wearing of the outfit:

The outfit will then be worn by us in the festival. It’s low quality material often means that it will be damaged at the festival by ourselves or just because of general wear and tear. At this point it means that the outfit is no longer wearable after only one wear. As well as this, there is the ‘insta’ phenomenon of only being able to get photos in this outfit once, so therefore the outfit outlives its lifespan.

Outcome of the outfit:

The outfit will most likely be thrown away, unless sellable. This clothing will then go and sit in landfill unable to biodegrade due to the materials used, or it will be burnt. This all adds to the carbon footprint of the item of clothing. Overall the item of clothing’s impact on the environment is greater than the actual wearing of the outfit – therefore is it worth it?

What are some alternatives that we can consider?

There are many different alternatives to consider before buying new outfits for festivals. These can be more sustainable and environmentally friendly, whilst saving you money. For instance, you could look for second hand items of clothing from charity shops, eBay, Depop or friends and family.

This means you are able to get a new piece of clothing without contributing to the harmful production methods, and through doing this you will also probably be saving money.

According to the Guardian’s article on fast fashion, there are numerous ways to reduce the constant flow of clothing hauls. One of the main tips that stood out was clearing out your wardrobe, looking at all the clothes that you’ve got and seeing what you should keep or what you should try and sell (or throw out if you cannot).

This may seem counter intuitive, however, there will no doubt be items of clothing hidden at the bottom of your wardrobe that could be perfect for the upcoming festival season.

Despite all this, you still might feel strange or embarrassed by wearing the same outfit twice. This toxic mindset is only one that you will be aware of, as no one keeps tabs on everyone’s outfit choices. As long as you look good and feel good, why shouldn’t you wear it more than once?

If you’re still unable to find something you really like from the bottom of your wardrobe, there is always the option of renting your clothes. This is a costly alternative, however, a greatly sustainable option in comparison to doing another PrettyLittleThing haul. Examples of websites that provide clothing rental services are; Hurr, ByRotation, OnLoan, Rotaro and The Devout.

Another sustainable choice to make could be through mending or recreating your old clothes into something different. This is easily done through watching a few YouTube tutorials and investing in a sewing kit. Despite this being a more time consuming option, this could be a fun alternative that you and your friends could arrange to do together. You never know, it could become a new hobby.

Lastly, there is always the opportunity to buy deadstock. This is the stock from fashion brands including fast fashion brands, that hasn’t sold that is otherwise heading for the incinerator. Often searching deadstock on eBay or or Etsy will show the unsold stock at a reduced price. This is a more sustainable option that will also save you money.

Overall, there are numerous alternatives that we could all consider before doing the usual 2am shop on PrettyLittleThing.

It may take a bit more effort, but in the long run you are saving the environment and your wallet.


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