Can we talk about fast fashion for a second?
Cheap retailers like h&m and forever 21 offer clothing prices that just cannot be beat.
I mean 7$ for a t-shirt and 20$ jeans? Who wouldn’t go for that.
I’m here to tell you all about fast fashion, why it’s bad, how you can ditch it AND a bonus on how to pack more minimally so eventually you can stop paying outrageous checked bag fees.
Google defines fast fashion inexpensive clothes that are produced rapidly by mass market retailers.
If you haven’t heard at least one of the negative environmental/social impacts of fast fashion you must live under a rock but I’ll spit some out for you here:
- Water waste: Approximately 2 billion pairs of jeans are produced each year which eat up 7000 liters of water each.
- The wastewater from dyeing clothes is often untreated and dumped back into the communities of the developing countries which host the factories
- The epic carbon footprint left behind from energy, resource, and water usage to produce the clothes
- 6% of the total textiles produced become scrap after cutting to make garments and go straight to landfill. Even after consumer use, most garments are discarded to landfills.
- Most people who make your clothes aren’t paid a living wage, often skip meals and go into debt.
Ok so let’s get away from the depressing reality of it all and start brainstorming how we can avoid fast fashion.
How does this industry get the money to continue supporting their business? CUSTOMERS of course! (That’s us)
So the first step is to email companies and demand more sustainable practices. Spread the word across your social media, share these depressing facts with anyone who will listen and join an eco facebook or Instagram community. Reach out and connect with people in your city who are dedicated to a sustainable lifestyle and can help or support you when you need it! Watch some documentaries on environmental and social issues and educate yourself!
The second step would be to stop buying, which is easier said than done. I’ve organized these tips in order of how expensive the alternatives will be. (there’s something for everyone)
- Look for locally made, durable clothing that uses sustainable materials and practices. There are usually many options if you live in a big city but if you don’t live in a city, picking up a beautiful locally made clothing item would make the best souvenir when your traveling! The best thing to buy abroad is something you know you’re going to actually love and use when you bring it home.
- Don’t have fat stacks to blow on expensive shirts? Don’t worry! The next best thing would be thrifting!! Check out charity shops, vintage shops and thrift stores for some cool and unique clothes! This is where brands don’t matter, go ahead! Buy that h&m top! Through thrifting, you’re not directly supporting the company and your rescuing that garment from the trash BUT you get all the perks of owning that cute trendy top! Remember when you’re done with it to return it to the charity shop if it’s still useable. If it is not useable find a textile donation box near you (NOT the h&m ones, it’s basically a scam)
- If you find yourself unable to thrift then try organizing a clothing swap with your friends! You get to try new pieces and freshen up your wardrobe without spending money! Win-win!-
- If that is not appealing to you then buy fast fashion less often. Learn simple repair techniques to fix your garments instead of chucking them when they have holes. Youtube is excellent for this and so are older relatives!
A note on shopping whether you’re in an expensive boutique, thrift store or your local fast fashion brand:
Only buy clothes that you love.
Yes, you can love clothes. You know that butterflies-in-the-stomach you got when you had your first relationship? How winning that soccer championship made you feel on top of the world? And how that random strangers compliment made you feel noticed, beautiful and sexy?
Well, your clothes should make you feel that way every damn day.
And if it doesn’t? If it makes you feel disgusting, makes you look frumpy or doesn’t reflect your style?
Then bye Felicia you don’t need it.
Stay tuned next week for part 2 where I go over finding your style and minimalist packing!