Who says fashion needs to be “new?”
A growing movement is trying to dismantle the “fast fashion” industry.
After all, fast fashion is not only bad for women (mentally and financially), it’s quite harmful to the environment, too.
So how are people fighting this capitalistic rabbit hole?
By refusing to buy new clothes.
“Don’t feed the monster.”
It’s easy to fall into the habit of shopping for more than you actually need.
High street brands, after all, are becoming increasingly cheaper. Not to mention convenient.
With just a tap if your finger, you can buy a $10 dress and have it delivered for free to your doorstep.
These brands are experts at feeding our need for “seasonal refreshers” to fill our already overloaded closets, too.
So who can blame you, really?
But did you know that fast fashion is actually hurting not only your bank account but the environment, too?
Here are 3 reasons why fast fashion is bad:
1. It’s environmentally disastrous.
According to Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion:
“Buying clothing, and treating it as if it is disposable, is putting a huge added weight on the environment and is simply unsustainable.”
Fast fashion focuses on speed and low-cost manufacturing. And with, textile dying as the second biggest polluter of clean water, you can just imagine the impact it has on our environment.
Additionally, polyester in clothes shed off microfibers that increases the levels of plastics in our ocean – a serious threat to aquatic life.
If that isn’t enough to make you rethink your penchant for fast fashion, here’s the worst thing: textile waste.
According to Huff Post, the average American throws away over 68 pounds of textiles per year.
And because these clothes are made with synthetic material, it will take them decades to decompose, adding to the already staggering waste humans produce every year.
2. It costs you more than “real” clothes.
You might think you’re saving a lot of money buying cheaper fast fashion. But you couldn’t be more wrong.
Fast fashion clothes may be cheap, but they don’t wear out as long as good-quality clothes.
Those $15 jeans will probably tear in a year, whereas a pair from a good-quality brand will last you 3 to 5 years.
You’re saving more when you’re buying good-quality clothes, instead of buying cheap ones you throw away after a few wears.
3. It causes a cultural shift.
Fast fashion isn’t just messing with your pockets and our environment – it’s causing a mental and cultural shift, too.
New clothes are now so cheap, that it’s costs less than washing them.
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This creates a cultural shift: it convinces you to just keep buying new clothes and throwing them away after a while.
What’s worse, you’re never reminded of the repercussions of it.
But it causes a psychological effect, too:
Fast fashion makes you feel “out of trend” real quick.
Since new trends are produced almost every two weeks, it’s a battle you can’t win.
In a world where looks are more important than anything else, you have no choice but to follow the lead.
A more kind and conscious look at fashion.
Luckily, more and more people are becoming aware of the negative impact of fast fashion.
After seeing images of a Bangladesh factory collapse, photographer and blogger Aditi Mayer decided to stop buying clothes.
“I was like, ‘I do not want to be contributing to these types of industries. Especially as a woman of color, I felt like there were a lot of stakes how these industries affect women of color specifically.”
For a while, Mayer bought second-hand clothes. But then she decided to take it a step further.
So she started thinking more about her fashion purchases – ethical, sustainable, and being aware of the human labor and environmental impact behind it
“We can’t look at environmental issues without looking at the human dimension.”
Lauren Chenoweth also believes it’s a “huge gesture of activism” to buy secondhand clothes.
Adding that it’s the only option for people who “do not believe in damaging the environment and perpetuating this consumption and waste”.
One expert wholeheartedly agrees. Glynis Sweeny of AlterNet says that fast fashion is nothing but “rampant consumerism … in which clothing is designed to be moved as quickly as possible from catwalk to store.”
“It is particularly worrisome, because it creates demand and then constantly churns out massive amounts of cheap clothes, ultimately accelerating carbon emissions and global warming.”
The solution is becoming more conscious about what you buy. Being fashionable doesn’t have to mean buying something new every month.
If we don’t act now, our planet will pay dearly for it.
We have to change how we look at fashion. Not just big fashion brands and companies – but the consumers, too.
If consumers demand great products made in a sustainable way, manufacturers will have no choice but to change what they sell, too.