Fast fashion feels like it’s everywhere, and it’s easy to think that the fashion industry has always been this way but it is actually a relatively new phenomenon:
We are consuming 400% more clothes now than we did just 20 years ago (that’s the late 1990’s!)
And that increase in consumption comes at a cost:
- The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry on the planet, second only to fossil fuels
- It is responsible for 3% of total global CO2 emissions
- 150 billion items of clothing are made each year, and in the USA 36kg of clothes per person are thrown away.
The cost of clothes has come down hugely in recent years, and sadly clothes are now sometimes seen as disposable – some people quite literally buy cheap High St clothes with no intention of ever washing them and wearing again – they buy them to wear once and then throw away.
But as cheap as our clothes now are, someone somewhere is paying the price.
And in the case of fast fashion, it is the garment workers, and the planet, that suffer.
The good news is that because we all need to wear clothes, we have the power to create change by making different choices about the garments we wear and buy and there are actually lots of easy options for side-stepping fast fashion and not contributing to the demand.
SHOP YOUR WARDROBE
How many items do you have in your wardrobe that you’ve hardly ever worn?
How many items do you wear regularly?
You might be surprised to find things that you had forgotten about lurking at the bottom of your drawers, or pushed to the back of your wardrobe.
Check out your local charity shops, vintage shops, and even jumble sales to see if you can find the things you need or want to fill the gaps in your wardrobe.
If you’re looking for specific brands then eBay is a great option – just remember to tick the ‘used’ box under ‘Condition’ in the sidebar on the left hand side.
SWISH OR SWAP
Swishing is basically a fancy pants name for a clothes swapping party.
You can have a look on sites like Swishing.com to see if you can find anything local to you, or get a few friends together and run one at home!
There’s some tips for running your own swish right here.
Livia Firth recommends that when we’re thinking of buying a new outfit we ask ourselves “Will I wear this 30 times?”
And if you won’t, then don’t buy it.
I don’t know about you but I really don’t venture out to posh events and weddings very much anymore, so I’m unlikely to get 30 wears out of a posh frock. In which case, renting from a dress agency might well be the answer.
There’s some renting resources here from Love Your Clothes.
Fast fashion has a massive impact both on the planet, and on the people who make our clothes.
This is good advice from Vivienne Westwood:
There’s a handy cheat sheet below – you might want to take it out shopping with you if you struggle to resist your fast fashion fix!
Which of these do you already do?
And which ones would you be up for giving a go?
Do leave a comment below and let me know 🙂
PS. If you’re looking for some more support and resources specifically around sustainable fashion, you might like to get your mitts on the replay of our Sustainable Fashion Masterclass from my Sustainable Living Hub, which comes with a free mini e-book that summarises the main points and take-aways
for just £5