I would be lying to you if I said I have not purchased clothing from fast-fashion retailers in the past year! The very reason that the fast fashion industry is so strong is the very accessibility of it, the cheap prices, and our obsession with consumerism! You might think you are buying a piece of clothing that is trendy and cheap but do you know what else you are contributing to when you purchase that trendy piece?
What is fast fashion?
Fast Fashion is the term coined to talk about clothing that has been seen on the catwalk or seen as trendy lately and fashion retailers will sell it at cheap prices and make mass production of each clothing piece. We need to realize the power we have in our voices and where we put our money!
A collective but not exhuastive list of brands that have bad working conditions, child labor, low-wages, slave like conditions, long work days, not eco-friendly at all:
Pretty Little thing
This came as a shock to me when I found out about the horrible conditions that fast fashion retailers make their employees work in. The facts were always under our noses, you look at your tag, and the common countries that clothing is made in is: Bangladesh, India, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.
Fast fashion contributes to about 10% of the world's carbon emission since most fashion factories still use coal to make their clothing items. Every year, 1.5 trillion liters of water are used by the fashion industry alone!! With 200 tons of freshwater are used to dye one ton of fabric. When 750 MILLION PEOPLE in this world don't have access to drinking water! Only about 15% of our clothes are recycled and donated. That leaves 85% of clothing to be taken to the landfills. 70 million oil barrels are used to produce polyester every year. 70 million trees are cut down every year solely for the purpose of the fast fashion industry.
Clothing is expensive and not everyone has the money to spend money on brands that are sustainable but well over the price of that you would pay at fash fashion companies. Why else would fast-fashion retailers be as successful as they are now? It is because their products are cheap; quality and price. Unknowingly contributing to fast fashion without knowing the horrors behind it is permissible but it is important what we do after learning this information.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
The goal of Sustainable fashion and clothing is making clothing that focuses on helping and not contributing to horrible ethical and ecological issues! Sustainable fashion brands ensure that in the production of clothing, it will not harm the environment AND focuses on respecting/paying their employees fairly and working inhumane conditions!
Where can you shop that isn't fast fashion?
Believe me, this was my problem too!! Where am I going to buy clothes that don't break my bank? I am a college kid, it's not like I have $70 to spend on ONE shirt! Well, I really thought it through and realized if I bought a quality piece of clothing every once in a while, it will surely last me way longer than any Forever 21 shirt did! I do realize that it still may not be everyone's situation to even purchase one quality clothing item at a time! So below are some options that should be inexpensive to chose from!
Buy Second hand!!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with shopping at thrift stores!! It sure beats supporting child labor and horrible working conditions! Anyways, another man's trash is another man's treasure. There are hidden gems everywhere if you look hard enough.
Stop buying trendy clothes!
I promise by the time it ships to your house, there will be a new trend and the cycle will never end. Unless you stop participating in the harmful cycle yourself!
Donate your old clothing and stuff you don't use anymore!
Hello!! Plato's closet will literally pay you to give you your clothing you don't wear anymore! Before you consider going to Plato's, Goodwill and local thrift stores are always available as well!
Support ethical brands!
Do your research! Know the gravity of your choices and purchases! Realize that you can make a difference.
Stop shopping so much!
Do you really think the piece of clothing that's waiting for you in your shopping cart will last you 5 or 10 years?
Swap clothes with friends!
I mean c'mon have you ever lived with roommates? You know this is fun!!