Last week I did the unthinkable, I wore the same dress to the same exact award ceremony that I did last year. In today’s world of fast fashion that was simply unfashionable to do. What most consumers don’t know is that their incessant need to be “on-trend”, for low cost, is killing our planet.
The facts- what you need to know
- What is it? Fast fashion is low cost clothing that mimics or knocks-off luxury goods.
- Where’s the problem? Trends quickly trump yesterday’s must-have’s, and middle class consumers trying to keep up, opt for cheap, trendy clothes, with a disposable mindset. The problem lies in demand.
- What’s the problem with this model? Fast fashion is made poorly, at a low cost, which means their short life expectancy ends in the trash quickly. The sudden rise of quick trend cycle’s and instant gratification has put a demand on goods in an unsustainable manner; not to mention, someone in this line of process is getting shorted.
- Why do we care? Since the goal of fast fashion focuses on those quick trend cycles, in an effort to make more money, it results in disposable clothing in as little as 1 season, regardless of quality. 1 season!
- What’s the harm? Fashion waste raises a serious environmental concern. Most of the fashion industry has not made any suitable, sustainable measures to remedy the issue despite so much environmental pollution it produces. 11 million tons of clothing lands in land fills every year from America alone.
Unfortunately consumers either don’t know or don’t care. And while some big names in the fast fashion industry like Zara and H & M are doing sustainable practices in their factories, it is not a solution to the waste it produces. One of the biggest stakes for pollution is the dyes used for clothing, and more natural solutions aren’t considered as pretty. Left over waste is another issue, along with all the textiles ending up in landfills.
Removing paper with mobile ads and coupons, participating in energy savings, recycling and quality treatment for employees is a move in the right direction, but it doesn’t solve the problem of so many textiles going into landfills. These items are not biodegradable and therefore off gas, and sit in landfills for centuries.
Companies like H & M are trying to invest in technology that allows them to recycle garments into new ones, with out having to use virgin textiles, but so far nothing has been successful.
What’s the solution?
Stop buying fast fashion. Instead start buying quality garments that are made well, and made to last. Everyone should invest in a capsule wardrobe. Traditionally a capsule is 30 or less pieces. If this doesn’t seem possible pare down to 100 pieces including shoes. Donate your cheap items, or repurpose them and then stop buying more cheap goods! Buy expensive, good quality garments and take care of them.
A capsule is more economical, less taxing, and saves our planet. It also drops the demand on an unsustainable fashion model that’s not realistic and honors Mama Earth.