FAST FASHION. noun. Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.
The average person buys 60% more items of clothing and keeps them for about half as long as 15 years ago. *source
The global apparel and footwear industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions releasing four metric gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. *source
One kilogram of clothing over its entire life cycle creates 11 kilograms of greenhouse gases. *source
It takes about 2,720 litres of water to produce just one cotton shirt – a number equivalent to what an average person drinks over three years. *source
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’ll have heard the term fast fashion used more and more frequently. Naively, until I watched Stacey Dooley’s BBC documentary, “Fashion’s Dirty Secrets” I hadn’t really ever put too much thought into the environmental impact fast fashion has. I’ve seen a lot of posts and videos and just general comments from people saying they want to spend a bit less time investing in fast fashion this year and start investing more into sustainable and ethical clothing brands and simply just re wearing what they already own, and seeing as this is something that I’ve been doing more and more of in the last few months, I thought sharing a blog post of ways to avoid fast fashion might come in useful to some of you out there!
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to avoid the fast fashion industry, in fact, you’ll probably save tonnes of money (and of course the environment!) by avoiding fast fashion this year.
I live in a small town, but even here we have lots of charity shops to browse. I’ve found some of my favourite ever clothing pieces in charity shops and not only are you giving perfectly good garments a home, but you’re also helping to financially support a charity that really needs it! Some charity shops can feel overwhelming as they;re often in small units and packed to the brim with clothes and bric a brac, but if you can spare the extra ten minute to browse the rails, I guarantee you’ll find a unique piece that you’ll love!
Most of us do have too many clothes, myself included. It’s been some time since I’ve had a good declutter of my clothes and when I do, I always sort things into a few separate piles and one of them is for clothes to sell on. A great way to find new to you and sometimes even still brand new clothes for not a lot of money that also aren’t contributing hugely to the environmental impact fast fashion has, is through the likes of apps like Depop and eBay! I recently purchased some pre loved reusable nappies on eBay for such a small fraction of the cost that brand new one’s are and they’re just as good as new. Again, it can take some time to find what you’re looking for but it’s so worth it.
Swap or Borrow
Organise a clothes swap with your friends! You always compliment that skirt they wear right? So why not borrow it! Of course there are limitations here as you’d need to be the same or similar size in clothing, but if you are, utilise that! You could even just ask to borrow that dress you saw your friend wear last weekend rather than heading out and buying the same one brand new, to only wear it once and then have it sit in the back of your wardrobe for three years! I’m making sense, aren’t I!
We live in a throwaway society. If something is broken, we don’t fix it, we chuck it “away” and replace it. 99% of the time, the item is probably fixable, but we would rather save time and spend money to fix the issue. Got a rip on the seem of your jeans? Sew it up! Got a hole in the back of your jacket? Pop a patch on it! You don’t need to own a sewing machine or even be very knowledgeable on textiles to repair something simple like that. Get yourself a small sewing kit to have to hand at home so that if you do find yourself with a little rip, you can fix it. If you’re really unsure on how to fix that hole, Google it!
I’m not saying you should unfollow everyone on your feed that buys anything within the fast fashion bubble, but if you follow a fast fashion store that’s promoting their own clothing and that’s then making you want to purchase the items every time you see their photos, unfollow them! If there’s a blogger or influencer who’s sharing a lot of high street haul’s or fast fashion items and you feel as though it’s pressuring you to go out and buy these things, you can unfollow them too! If there’s something in your online bubble that you no longer wish to consume, you don’t need to consume it! You are in control of the people and things that you follow on the internet, remember that.
Shop Small and Ethical
If you would like to purchase new items of clothing, then why not consider shopping small or locally and from a business whose ethics align with yours? I’m still looking into different clothing companies that are more ethical and sustainable but one that I’m really loving at the moment is Lucy&Yak. Their dungarees are to die for and I am 100% buying myself a pair after our wedding in March! You can read more about their story and their ethos here but I encourage you to do your own research and find brands that align with your values and what you want from the fashion industry.
What are your thoughts on fast fashion? Are you trying to steer away from it this year too? Do you have any tips that you’d add to this list?