Photo Credit Artificial Photography
Fast Fashion encourages a throw away attitude that creates and leads to many environmental and ethical issues. Rather than fixing or up-cycling our clothes, we just replace them with new ones and throw the old clothes 'away'. In fact in 2017, 235million items of clothing were sent to Landfill in the UK alone (BBC News). We rarely think about why these clothes are so affordable, how they have been made and what effects they have had on the planet, the workers and the animals.
Here are 10 reasons why you should stop funding the fast fashion industry and begin to create a more sustainable, compassionate wardrobe:
'Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.' The United Nations Environment Programme
'Clothes washing in the UK is estimated to generate around 4,000 tonnes of plastic microfibre pollution every year, of which 1,600 tonnes could be ending up in our rivers and estuaries. One washing load of clothes could be shedding up to 17 million tiny plastic fibres.' Ethical Consumer
'Around 100,000 marine animals are killed each year by plastic waste, including microfibres' UN Environment
'In the textile factories, some workers do not earn enough in a month to pay for one of the garments that they are producing. They are forced to work in unbearable conditions in order to meet the demands for disposable discount fashion' Fairtrade
'Textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally and it takes around 2,000 gallons of water to make a typical pair of jeans.' The United Nations Environment Programme
'Cotton farmers often can’t afford to pay for essentials for their families like medicine when they are ill, school fees for their children and even food.' Fairtrade
Fast Fashion doesn't allow a budget for sustainable, organic cotton farming. 'Conventional production practices for cotton involve the application of substantial fertilisers and pesticides. Pesticides threaten the quality of soil and water, as well as the health of biodiversity in and downstream from the fields. Heavy use of pesticides also raises concern for the health of farm workers and nearby populations.' WWF
A higher demand for clothing, leads to a higher demand for animal products such as leather, suede, wool, feathers, fur and animal- derived glue. (I will be doing a whole blog post about the issues involved in creating these animal products)
It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt, enough to meet the average person’s drinking needs for two-and-a-half years.(National Geographic) Now think about those £5 cotton t shirts in a high street chain fashion store and imagine how much water usage it all equates to!
'A 2018 U.S. Department of Labor report found evidence of forced and child labor in the fashion industry in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and other countries.' World Recourses Institute
Around 60% of clothing is now made from Polyester, a synthetic material made from plastic. As well as releasing micro plastics in to the water when they are washed, Polyester garments are 'thrown away' when they are no longer wanted and will sit in landfill for around 200 years!
What can you do to help?
Firstly, cutting down on the amount of clothing you buy will make a huge difference. Have a look through your wardrobe and reacquaint yourself with clothes that you forgot you had, mend clothing that can be easily fixed, upcycle clothing in to new, exciting pieces!
When you need a new item, try browsing charity shops and online auction sites for pre loved gems that you can offer a new home to. Swap clothes with friends and enjoy knowing that you are saving those items from reaching landfill sites and stopping the need for the production of a new, fast and cheap garment.
Think about how much money you spend on clothes, shoes and accessories and how many of those items you regularly wear. When you start to buy less, you find that you can afford to occasionally invest in the more sustainable items of clothing. Organic clothing, upcycled or recycled clothing and well made clothes from responsible, ethical companies that will last much longer and have less of an environmental impact during their life span.