FAST FASHION: THE CLOTHING FAST FOOD
Fast fashion is the mass production and distribution of clothing at low rates due to globalisation.The main drive for the growth of the fashion industry is that people tend to change frequently how they dress, buy new items based on season, design, price, or pressure from the media which is usually through Instagram, magazines, ads, influencers, you name it. The reason many fall for fast fashion is because having new clothes and looking different increases confidence, acceptance by others, shows you’re ‘fashionable’ or up-to-date, generally linked to improving mental and emotional well-being.
Clothing is now associated with happiness. However, it has a highly negative impact on personal finances, encouraging spending money you don't have on things you don’t need, feeling no contentment and the need to constantly get more, therefore living in a cycle of buying more for less and discarding it after a short time because of the low quality. Not only is it harmful to you financially, it is also very dangerous to the environment (Claudio, 2007).
HOW MUCH DOES THE ENVIRONMENT COST?
Most of the fast fashion brands manufacture garments that are made from polyester, which is a plastic and is found is almost 60% of clothing. Pollster production produces twice to three times the carbon emissions from cotton and polyester doesn’t break down in the ocean. (McFall-Johnsen, 2019).
Globally, here are 400 billion squared meters of textiles produced every year. Around 15% of these annually manufactured fabrics will end up discarded in the cutting room floor.
However, reusing one ton of discarded textiles eliminates 20 tons of CO2 from the air (Unknown, 2019). Many have no idea that it takes 2,700 litres of water to make a regular cotton shirt and 9,982 litres for a pair of jeans (UN, 2019). Not only that, but the fashion industry is accountable for more carbon emissions than both the maritime shipping and international flights combined (McFall-Johnsen, 2019). Every year, people discard 85% of their clothing and textiles into landfills which are equivalent to 21 billion tons. Since in Kuwait we have limited land space, the land value and prices are high. Now imagine the excessive use of valuable land as dumpsites to dump clothes along with other waste without proper segregation and landfill management.
LEAD A FAST-FASHION FREE LIFESTYLE
- Buy what you NEED not what you want. You don’t need a bunch of new sweaters for the winter season and you definitely don’t need 5 different black pants. Buy wisely.
- Look and support ethical and environmental friendly brands that manufacture their clothing out of recycled or organic material. There are a lot of international brands adopting new concepts that are eco-friendly.
- Embrace the concept of “Old is GOLD”. What you have is precious. Wear it again. Wear it differently. Gift it to others. Sell it secondhand. The options are endless.
- Quality over quantity. This simplifies everything. If you pay more for a piece with good quality, think of it as an investment. A long-term relationship. You’ll only leave it if it ‘dies’.
- Ask yourself these questions Will I still wear this in 5 years? Do I have something similar? Do I really need it? These question could eliminate a lot of unnecessary buys.
- UN ACT NOW FASHION CHALLENGE As a way to showcase your stand against fast fashion, challenge yourself to a zero-waste fashion lifestyle and use the #ActNow hashtag on social media and show the world who you’re joining the good fight.
CLAUDIA, L. (2007). Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry. Retrieved from https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/ehp.115-a449
LEBLANC, R. (2019). Textile and Garment Recycling Facts and Figures. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/textile-recycling-facts-and-figures-2878122
MCFALL-JOHNSEN. M (2019). Here are the biggest ways it impacts the planet. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.my/fast-fashion-environmental-impact-pollution-emissions-waste-water-2019-10-2/
United Nations (2019) ActNow for Zero-Waste Fashion. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/08/actnow-for-zero-waste-fashion/
Unknown, (2019). Design Lessons In Zero Waste. Retrieved from https://www.commonobjective.co/article/design-lessons-in-zero-waste
VAUGHN, S (2019). Is Fast Fashion Killing the Planet? Retrieved from https://www.rethink.industries/article/is-fast-fashion-killing-the-planet/