The fast fashion industry is responsible for 10% of total global carbon emissions. Since the rise of fast fashion in the 90’s, retailers began increasing production rates and went from releasing collections every six months, to every week.
The environmental cost of this lifestyle is enormous. Over 20% of wastewater worldwide comes from the treatment of fabrics in fashion manufacturing, and more than 85% of all fabrics that enter a manufacturing facility are disposed of rather than used.
But it is possible to give up fast fashion and switch to sustainable fashion buying - here are some ideas to get you started.
A capsule wardrobe consists of purchasing a few staple pieces in neutral styles so as to easily mix and match to create new looks, which are suitable for a range of social and professional settings. This idea originally came from travel bloggers who essentially lived out of a suitcase for long periods of time. The movement has grown and has been adopted by minimalists around the world, with the fight against fast fashion at the forefront of their agenda.
2020 took an unexpected turn back to the 90’s, with the return of the trusty cargo pant, claw clip and fanny pack. Second hand shopping is the way to go about this if you’re interested in keeping trendy but don’t want to buy back into fast fashion. Op-shops and online marketplaces like Depop are great destinations to buy second hand and breathe new life into pre-loved pieces. Or you could even have a dig through the dark corners of your parent's closet and crack out the real vintage pieces.
In a shocking report by OneEarth in 2020, scientists discovered micro-plastics near the summit of Mount Everest. Analysis found that the materials were the result of breakage from the climber’s clothes and gear. While this might sound like an extreme example, it tells us that buying strong staples - those clothes you rely on to wear every week - are essential for building a strong, sustainable closet of clothes that don't need continual replacement.
We understand that making the switch to ethically produced clothing is overwhelming, so a great tip we recommend is downloading a directory app that will act as your first point of contact when looking for a new jacket or pair of trainers. The Good On You app is a great starting point, where over one million users around the world flock to to see ratings on businesses, based on their labour processes, environmental impact, animal testing, etc.
Instead of heading into a shopping centre when you need a new item of clothing, opt to support a growing sustainable brand, as their suppliers and production methods are often much more ethical and environmentally considerate than other large scale retailers. Shopping smaller and more sustainably means that you are supporting both the environment and small businesses, as well as receiving a higher quality product. Here are some tips to check if who you’re buying from is sustainable.
Need something a little different for a friend’s wedding or a work function? Why not try renting an outfit? Online and boutique marketplaces are bringing big labels to you for a fraction of the cost by allowing you to rent the items. If buying, aim for a high-quality, timeless piece that can be worn at similar events for the next few years.