Why fast fashion needs to change

Sustainable fashion is becoming more and more popular. More than ever, consumers are starting to care about what the clothing is made of, who made it, how and where it was made.

Sustainable fashion is now challenging fast fashion and it is about time. Being the 2nd biggest industry in the world, the fashion industry is responsible for a massive amount of pollution. Not only are we guilty of using more of our resources that we should, but a lot of it also goes to waste. To produce 1kg cotton it can take more than 20 000 litres of water and that kg of cotton will only be enough to make one t-shirt and one pair of jeans. Now think about how often you purchase a pair of jeans and how many times you wear it before it goes to waste.

To get an insight into the matter, here are some crucial statistics:

  • $66 billion is spent on clothing and footwear in the UK every year.
  • Consumers in the UK have unworn items in their household worth $46,7 billion.
  • The textile industry in one out of three top water wasters in China, discharging over 2,5 billion tons every year.

The fashion industry simply cannot go on like this. If we keep using and wasting, our resources will soon come to an end. But this is where sustainable fashion comes in. Whether it is recycling, reusing or re-wearing – it is all good for the environment. The thing is that sustainable fashion is mainly a thing among the smaller brands, while the retail giants, who also are the mass users, they keep up with the fast fashion. It is safe to say that there is a long way to go, but we got to start somewhere. Stella McCartney, who is known for being a designer who supports animal rights and sustainable fashion urges consumer to:

‘Be mindful of your consumption. I think the one thing we’ve forgotten is that we make the choices. I think it’s really important to know what you’re consuming, to ask questions, to reduce your meat intake, to look at how you’re living your life and how that has an impact on the environment.’

So your actions matter and who you’re buying from are who and what you support – although it’s easier said than done. Lizzie Harrison from the research hub SustainRCA states:

‘We like to think we will by a sustainably sourced t-shirt but a lot of those values get suppressed in the moment of buying. I don’t think it’s fair to say we’ve turned a corner.’

She is right about that. We keep going back to the retail giants to get our fast fashion items, wear them a few times before stapling them ‘so last season’, which is a shame. Surely the biggest fashion chains would become more sustainable if that was what the consumers demanded, and the change has started. Consumers are thinking quality over quantity, shopping second-hand has become a trend again and having an original treasure of an item has become more popular than just buying the fast fashion items that everyone’s buying. We might have a long way to go, but at least we’re on our way.

Read about sustainable brands HERE and how textile workers is being treated HERE.

Text: Christine Rye-Johnson

Images: Harper’s Bazaar, B2C, The Guardian, Adec Innovations, Huffington post

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