Some of us may spend hours carefully choosing every piece of clothing in our closet while others simply find the cheapest, trendiest top available.
With constant reminders of climate change and learning more and more about the damage we have done, taking care of the environment has become a daily topic of conversation for many. Initiatives to ban straws have started all across the company and more and more people are doing away with old practices like replacing plastic water bottles with reusable ones. Somehow, the fashion industry is rarely a part of the discussion and manages to continue its wasteful ways without a whole lot of criticism.
No one would like to hear their favorite, stress-relieving activity is doing more than hurting their bank account, but the fashion industry is one of the biggest sources of pollution. With most people unaware of how their consumption is harming the world, it's an issue nearly impossible to combat.
Though I'm always on the lookout for deals and the first to brag about how I got a top from H&M for just $10.00, the truth is I've been unwittingly contributing to the problem that is fast fashion as are the majority of people. For those unfamiliar with the term, fast fashion is cheap clothing produced by big stores like H&M, Zara, etc. made to keep up with the most recent clothing trends. Making clothes cheaply and on such a regular basis is neither environmentally sustainable nor are the employees' working conditions acceptable.
These big-name retailers are paying workers in foreign countries to work in dangerous conditions with little pay while barely considering the impact of encouraging consumers to buy clothes to wear only a few times before tossing them away. To be unaware of these practices and their impact is understandable but knowing this is happening means we, as consumers, have to change our ways.
People need to reconsider the way they go about shopping. Rather than trying to find a trendy outfit in time for whatever party you have tonight or buying a t-shirt simply because it's such a great deal, stop to think if this piece of clothing will last you or if you can see yourself letting it go to waste in just 6 months' time.
Fast fashion may be affordable and it may be popular, but our overconsumption of clothes we truly don't need is one of the most problematic ways we contribute to environmental destruction and make these companies believe their practices are acceptable.