By Kris James
Hello Stylers! I know we love fashion and the beauty it creates, but it’s the ugly side that we never see. No, I’m not talking about the lack of diversity. I’m talking about Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion utilizes trend replication, rapid production, and low-quality materials to bring inexpensive styles to the public. Unfortunately, the results leave a harmful impact on our environment. I know you’re probably wondering what’s wrong with spending money at your favorite online stores like Fashion Nova, Forever 21 and H&M. Well, what do you think happens to your clothes when we throw them away?
The average consumer purchased 70% more items of clothing in 2018 than in 2000 but now keeps the clothes for half as long. This is simply because the garments fall apart, or go out of style, or maybe just because it’s so cheap we view it as disposable. According to thegoodtrade.com, “Each year, the clothing that is simply thrown away amounts to about 11 million tons in the US alone…Fast fashion’s carbon footprint is giving huge industries like air travel and oil a run for their money.”
Most of our clothes are full of pesticides, lead, and numerous other chemicals, which never break down, spending the rest of their lives releasing toxic chemicals into the air. Not only does this affect our world but think about the people who make them. Some garments have large amounts of lead in them and this increases the risk of heart attacks, infertility and more.
As a kid, I remember getting clothes every season. I would get special outfits throughout the year, but these clothes were meant to last for years. I’m sure we all remember those favorite items that held so much value to us. Mine were these Guess over-alls. I would wear them every week to school and cried when one of the buttons broke. That was my first investment because I was emotionally attached. Now can we still say that? I spent most of my 20s mad at my girlfriends because they could find outfits for under 20 dollars but, on the other hand, had to drop a few dollars. I never realized this was the beginning of Fast Fashion.
I’m not telling you to give up shopping at some of your favorite stores, just be more mindful. In the past few years, thrifting and shopping at vintage stores has become very popular. There are a lot of vintage dealers like Washington Ave who is local. Try revamping all the oldies by making them new. H&M, one of those affordable but exploitive brands, has done more than other stores. They released a “Conscious Collection” where the items are made from recycled clothes and organic cotton. They also now carry a selection of premium quality products, which cost more but last longer. Conscious fashion means there are brands and individuals who care about us and our fight to save our earth. I like to think that we spend thousands on an iPhone every two years because we believe in its value. Why not put that same value back into our clothes?
“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying.” – Lucy Siegle