Fast Fashion earned its name by being exactly that. It’s mass produced, distributed, sold, worn and discarded in an extremely short period of time. This has been well embraced by consumers because it’s just so damn convenient. If you want something on trend, right now, within a tiny budget there really aren’t many other options. The problem with these bright and shiny new purchases is they are often poorly made from cheap material by slave wage workers that are not designed to last. They will also cost the environment by firstly travelling thousands of miles from factory to shop and secondly being dumped after their short life span. However in spite of these apocalyptic sounding facts we all indulge at the mall now and again.
Often clothing ends up in either landfill or clogging up the waterways. Fibres from fabric are being found all sorts of places fibres have no business being. This is undoubtedly a direct result of the fast fashion industry.
So what can we do as consumers to try and slow the rising tide of garment pollution?
Firstly vote with your wallet and don’t buy or drastically reduce your purchases from high street stores. The fashion industry caters directly to demand. If we buy one beautiful, locally made piece that will last for years rather than five cheap pieces that are guaranteed to fall apart after a couple of washes retailers will soon pick up on the change in consumer habits.
Reuse the clothes you no longer want as much as possible. You’ll amaze yourself with what you can whip up in 10 minutes with a reasonably priced sewing machine. You’ll save money, produce something truly unique and you don’t have to be some sort of Mrs Beaton/Stepford Wife hybrid to achieve it. Old clothes can easily be transformed into hair wraps, rags, cleaning cloths, cushion covers, makeup remover wipes, shopping bags, and even quilts if you’re feeling adventurous. Before you condemn something to the rubbish bin, consider what else you could make with it.
Shopping for vintage and second hand makes great use of clothing already in circulation and reduces the demand for fast alternatives. High end labels can be found at recycle boutiques at pretty decent prices if you hussle. Not only will you bag yourself something unique, ethical and well made, you’ll be saving yourself some cash too. Keeerching!
Don’t underestimate your consumer power to make a difference.