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June 18, 2019

The Low-Down on Fast Fashion. ~ Kristina Jovanović

 

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Can we collectively make a pact to avoid fast fashion?

Fast fashion focuses on speed and low costs in order to deliver frequent new collections. The fashion industry accounts for 2 percent of global GDP and is now one of the biggest polluters in the world—second to oil as a result of fast fashion.

Globally, we now consume about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year—400 percent more than we were consuming just two decades ago. The result of this is the average shopper only wears 70 percent of what’s in their wardrobe and throws out 70 kilograms of clothing waste annually.”

Fast fashion isn’t only hard on the workers but also terrible for the environment.

“The environmental impact of fast fashion is significant: the clothing and textile industry is depleting nonrenewable resources, emitting huge quantities of greenhouses gases, and using massive quantities of energy, chemicals, and water. The synthetic fibres often favoured by fast fashion brands, such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic, are basically a kind of plastic made from petroleum, which means they could take up to a thousand years to biodegrade.

According to a 2011 study, a single synthetic garment can generate more than 1900 micro plastic fibres in one washing machine cycle. These microfibres are tiny and can easily pass through sewage and wastewater treatment plants into our waterways, but because they do not biodegrade, they represent a serious threat to aquatic life. Small creatures such as plankton eat the microfibres, which then make their way up the food chain to fish and shellfish, and later eaten by humans.” (From The University of Queensland, “Sustainability.”)

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Please shop responsibly.

I personally recommend consignment and thrift shopping, trading clothes with friends and family, and donating unwanted clothes to thrift stores or shelters instead of throwing them in the trash.

I also consciously try to avoid anything “Made in Bangladesh,” or “Made in China,” where I know working conditions are poor.

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A few months ago, I was introduced to consignment shopping—it’s basically high-end thrift store shopping. I love it for a number of reasons: I love being able to shop designer for waaaaay less than retail, and I also love that I don’t feel guilty purchasing leather goods from consignment stores.

Here’s why: if you’re buying from a consignment store, the designer is not aware of the demand for those leather goods which actually then creates less of a demand. Aaaanddd since fashion is always changing, that demand produces so much waste.

We should all purge our closets every now and then to get rid of anything old that no longer fits us or we just don’t wear anymore.

Consignment stores, donation bins, thrift stores, and local charities are a great way to keep your old clothes out of a landfill and reduce your waste.

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author: Kristina Jovanović

Image: Author's own

Editor: Naomi Boshari