How Sustainable Fashion Became A Tool For Capitalism
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

Sustainable Fashion Started As A Social Justice Movement, But It's Become A Tool For Capitalism

How the sustainable fashion movement has become a tool for capitalism

243
Sustainable Fashion Started As A Social Justice Movement, But It's Become A Tool For Capitalism

Consumers of the 21st century are more conscious of their spending habits than ever before. Fast fashion companies like H&M and Forever 21 are being held accountable for their unethical production, including their impact on pollution as well as the poor treatment of their employees overseas.

With images of dark smoggy factories and underpaid sweatshop workers becoming more accessible and more recognized, the sustainable fashion movement is on the rise. But how much more ethical is it?

Reselling thrift items drives up cost for low-income people, and self-proclaimed sustainable brands are ridiculously expensive.

While conscious spending is definitely better, it is unfair to shame people who don't have the same access. Sustainable fashion has become a marketing term to buy more, when the phrase itself warrants the exact opposite. To minimize environmental impact, we don't need to buy a Reformation shirt, when we can simply wear what we already own.

Sustainable clothing should truly sustain, and not just make the consumer feel better about themselves as they continue to unnecessarily consume.

Ethical or accessible?

Sustainable fashion has contributed to the rise of reselling. Apps like Depop encourage people to buy secondhand clothing from individuals looking to sell their used clothes.

However, this system has resulting in the practice of reselling thrifted clothes, which in turn drives up prices of actual thrift stores.

Consumers who rely on thrift store prices don't have a choice between ethical fashion and what they can actually afford.

But the dilemma is not just between fast fashion and thrift stores. Sustainable fashion companies have marketed themselves as a way to buy new clothes without worrying about the environmental impacts. They offer the variety of H&M with the piece of mind of buying secondhand.

However many of these stores sell their products for hundreds of dollars, citing material and labor costs as the main reason for the price. Sustainability shouldn't be a luxury.

Less is more.

While buying from ethical companies is great, not buying at all is even better!

Not to say that no one should ever buy new clothes, but instead to only spend when they really need to.

While fast fashion companies offer deal after deal on dresses you might already own, sustainable fashion companies do the same thing for double the price. Consumerism is the driving force behind a wasteful lifestyle and that root is the main cause of all the unethical practices we see in fashion production.

Mend — don't spend.

Sewing is a dying skill among Americans today, and this has greatly impacted the way we shop. The mentality these days is to see a hole in a sweater and immediately throw it away. Why keep it when you can just buy a new one for cheap online?

Fast fashion perpetuates this endless cycle of buying cheap fabrics that tear, which are then thrown away, then a new one is purchased, which is made of fabric that will eventually tear and so on and so forth.

In fact, the average lifespan of a single shirt is only 1-3 years.

But this doesn't have to be the case! There are thousands of YouTube tutorials that show basic sewing skills for free and give you skills that will save. Whether it's expensive wool or polyester, clothes that last longer are ultimately better.

You can help.

So what can you actually do?

Wanting to buy new fashionable clothes isn't evil and buying from fast fashion every once in a while won't kill the planet.

This isn't meant to demonize every sustainable fashion company either. What expensive ethical clothing stores offer is better than fast fashion, even if it isn't accessible to all.

The movement towards a more sustainable future will be an uneven collective effort, but collective nonetheless.

Report this Content
Featured

Six Lies Fed to Your Mind, By Your Mind.

These thoughts will drive you mad.

3959
pexels

Life is hard, and is even harder with a mental illness. Even if you aren't clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety, in the hardest times of your life you can probably associate with several of these thoughts. Fear not, everyone else is thinking them too. Maybe we just need a big, loving, group therapy session (or six).

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

A Letter To My Heartbroken Self

It will be okay, eventually.

6222
A Letter To My Heartbroken Self
Pexels

Breakups are hard. There's nothing comparable to the pain of losing someone you thought would be in your life forever. Someone who said all the right things at the right times. Someone who would give you the reassurance you needed, whenever you needed it. And then one day, it just... stops. Something changes. Something makes you feel like you're suddenly not good enough for him, or anyone for that matter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America

For the first time since 1994 the United States will host a world cup (for men's soccer)

7405
2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America
Skylar Meyers

The FIFA World Cup is coming to North American in 2026!

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

An Open Letter to Winter

Before we know it April will arrive.

8379

Dear Winter,

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

6 Questions To Ask Yourself When Cleaning Up Your Room

This holiday break is the perfect time to get away from the materialistic frenzy of the world and turn your room into a decluttered sanctuary.

7284
Pixar

Cleaning isn’t just for spring. In fact, I find school’s holiday break to be a very effective time for decluttering. You’re already being bombarded by the materialistically-infatuated frenzy of society’s version of Christmas, Hanukah, etc. It’s nice to get out of the claustrophobic avarice of the world and come home to a clean, fresh, and tidy room. While stacking up old books, CDs, and shoes may seem like no big deal, it can become a dangerous habit. The longer you hang onto something, whether it be for sentimental value or simply routine, it becomes much harder to let go of. Starting the process of decluttering can be the hardest part. To make it a little easier, get out three boxes and label them Donate, Storage, and Trash. I'm in the middle of the process right now, and while it is quite time consuming, it is also so relieving and calming to see how much you don't have to deal with anymore. Use these six questions below to help decide where an item gets sorted or if it obtains the value to stay out in your precious sanctuary from the world.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments