It’s March! Actually it’s nearing the end of March now but what can you do, I’m a busy gal. So my theme for March is inspired by Stacey Dooley and one of my friends…
It started off a few months ago when a friend of mine watched Stacey Dooley’s ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ documentary. After researching more into the fashion industry, Meg decided she would stop contributing to ‘fast fashion’ companies: “Honestly don’t think I will ever buy directly from PLT, Missguided, Nasty Gal or any other site that contributes to this disgusting industry”.
This then led to her starting a Depop business: picking up cool pieces from second-hand or charity shops and selling them on on Depop. A great idea, and promoting sustainable fashion.
Recently, I ended up watching the same documentary and did a lot of research myself into the fashion industry and the effect it has on the environment. Since then I have also stopped buying clothes from fast fashion brands.
So what is ‘fast fashion’…?
“Fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing, that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed.”
Sounds harmless, surely? …Well actually, it’s not: the fashion industry is the second highest polluting industry in the world after oil, and fast fashion has a lot to do with it.
To begin with, our planet cannot keep up with the sheer amount of water it takes to produce clothing, for example; it takes just over 15,000 litres to produce 1 pair of jeans. In Stacey Dooley’s ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ documentary, she visits the Aral sea that has been ‘shrinking since 1960s;’ since the region was developed for cotton production: “an area nearly the size of Ireland has gone”.
She later visits factories in Indonesia which produce clothes for many huge UK brands, and again shows the large-scale pollution, with clothing factories using the river Citarum: one of the biggest, most important rivers in the country, to dump their waste. The huge levels of pollution have a disastrous effect on the 25 million people who depend on the river for agriculture, water, and electricity.
The more and more clothing items we purchase due to ‘fast fashion’, the more of an effect it has on the environment.
What is ‘sustainable fashion’?
“More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects.” – Green strategy
Basically, ‘sustainable fashion’ is purchasing, manufacturing, selling clothing, in a way that causes the least negative impact to the planet.
As consumers, there are a number of ways we can get involved in promoting sustainable fashion…
- Shopping at brands that promote sustainable fashion
Patagonia’s ‘Worn Wear programme’ encourages customers to wear their products for longer, as keeping clothing in use nine extra months can reduce the related carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30 per cent. The Worn Wear programme also helps customers to sell their garments through the company, as well as recycle old worn out Patagonia clothing items.
Adidas is another well known brand that promotes sustainable fashion. By 2024, the company pledges to only use recycled plastic in its products, including polyester. “The brand will also cut out the use [of plastic] in its offices, warehouses, retail outlets and distribution centres, saving an estimated 40 tonnes of plastic per year in total.”
2. Buying second hand
Ebay… Depop… Vintage sales… Charity shops… There are loads and loads of ways to buy second hand clothes instead of giving your hard earned money to fast fashion fat cats.
There are also kilo sales and vintage sales, where I have found some of my favourite clothing items. I also like to feel cool saying “I got this jacket from a vintage sale”, so that’s always a plus. Dirty Harry always have amazing kilo sales, so I highly recommend checking them out.
Ebay and Depop are also super cheap ways to buy clothes, often brand new & with the tags in. I’m in the process of writing a Depop blog post, so stay tuned for that.
3. Reduce fast fashion purchases
We’ve all bought new outfits that we didn’t need for specific nights out… But really think about it next time: do you really need another Missguided crop top for Saturday night when you already have 10 in your wardrobe? Reuse items, and so don’t buy something cheap from Boohoo which will break within 5 minutes. Spend a little more and wear the item again and again. We need to remember that “fast fashion giants make clothing to fall apart… they will do anything to make you buy more clothes.”
The fashion industry contributes to around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and we’re adding to this with every £8 dress we buy, wear once and throw away. With extensive research saying there’s only 12 years to save the planet, we need to be doing everything we can to stop the pollution and destruction of Earth.
I hope this post was interesting or useful, and please let me know your opinions on Fast Fashion or how you are trying to be sustainable when it comes to clothes.
As I mentioned, this was my theme for March, however, since learning about how much of an environmental impact the fashion industry has, I just can’t see myself shopping at fast fashion brands, or throwing away clothes after one use ever again.
Thanks for reading!