The fashion industry is continually growing and fast-fashion is at the forefront of this growth. Fast-fashion is the recent phenomenon which involves copying the latest catwalk styles and cheaply producing them in order to sell them quickly at a low price throughout stores.
This phenomenon has led to consumers buy twice as many clothes as they did 20 years ago, and 3 times as many as they did 50 years ago. The global market now consumes 80 Billion new pieces of clothing every year, with the average Australian purchasing 27 kilograms of new textiles per year. This increased consumer spending on unnecessary fashion leads to 85% of the textiles we buy going to landfill every year, causing one of the biggest areas of pollution — only second to oil.
However, there are a few steps you can take to help drive the industry towards an economically sustainable future which include:
Buy less, choose quality
Fast-fashion is renown for using cheaper materials in order to speed up the production process as well as decrease the price for consumers. These materials are often made from synthetic fibres, some of which take thousands of years to biodegrade. By purchasing quality products you are not only purchasing materials which are better for the environment but also increase the life-time of the clothes. This increase in life-time allows you to wear the clothes for a longer amount of time, meaning there would be a large decrease in textiles sent to landfill and therefore in environmental damage. Another useful way to prolong the need to dispose of your clothes is to take care of them through measures such as washing the clothes with cold water.
Join the fashion sharing industry
An up-and-coming avenue to mitigate the environmental impact of the fashion industry is the sharing economy and the role it plays in society. The sharing economy involves renting clothes, allowing the clothes to be reused instead of thrown out. The fashion rental industry enables people to keep up with current fashion trends, whilst both saving money and the environment. This is because it reduces the amount of clothes that need to be produced and lower the price of high-quality clothes rendering the lower price of fast-fashion useless.
If you prefer to own your clothes then platforms such as Covet, a dress sharing platform, provide a different way you can contribute to this movement. By joining such a platform, you are able to rent out your clothes to other people near you which ensures that your clothes aren’t being underutilised. This leads to a reduction in the need for fast-fashion, as well as providing you a way to make money whilst benefiting the environment.
Recycle, Re-purpose, Resale
There’s a mindset with a lot of fashion consumers which is the idea that because you don’t have a need for your clothes anymore, no one does. This flawed logic leads to billions of textiles being thrown out and taken to landfill, whilst 95% of these textiles could be recycled or repaired. Re-purposing or reselling these textiles, there is an effective extension of the textiles lifetime which results in decrease in the environmental damage caused by decreasing the amount of textiles sent to landfill.
The Future is in your hands
Climate change is approaching a tipping point, and at some point soon we are going to move past the point of no return. Each and every one of us are able to make a positive impact on climate change with only a few easy changes, so get to it!