Did you know that the carbon footprint of new clothes bought in the UK every minute is greater than driving a car around the world 6 times?
According to Oxfam, “the textile industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the shipping and aviation industries combined. To keep prices low, throwaway fashion is made by garment workers often from the world’s poorest communities, and paid below the living wage. Each week 11 million garments end up in landfill in the UK”. These are horrifying statements, but not all together surprising. The fast fashion industry relies on a throw-away culture of style over quality. Clothes have become items to be worn for just a handful of occasions before being thrown to the back of a drawer or thrown out, before purchasing something new and continuing the cycle. As anti-fast fashion campaigner Venetia La Manna states, “Fashion this fast can never and will never be sustainable.”
How can I break the cycle?
Buying only what you need
The key to breaking the cycle of fast fashion is to only buy what you need, when you need it. This will help you avoid purchasing clothes which end up sitting in the back of your wardrobe never to be worn. This can be a difficult habit to get in to, especially in our current culture. A good idea is to unfollow any fast fashion brands on your social media, block targeted adverts from them, and unsubscribe from their marketing emails - this will stop the temptation to purchase new clothing from them. Instead, only search for clothing as and when you need it!
Repair broken clothes
Hole in your jeans? You might not necessarily need to purchase some new ones! Try sewing the hole up first or use a fun patch to turn your jeans into new ones! Try to fix and repair any broken clothes you have to get as much use as possible out of them before deciding the time has come for something new.
Buying strong and durable clothes
When the inevitable time comes where you do need something new, make sure to purchase strong and durable clothing to ensure you get as much time as possible out of them! Purchasing from more sustainable brands which value quality materials and sustainability over fast fashion is a good way to make sure your clothes are well made and are therefore more likely to last you a long time.
Buying from sustainable and ethical brands
Fast fashion brands are unsustainable and unethical. Although more sustainable brands tend to cost a little more due to more sustainable and quality materials, and a higher wage for their workers, you make your money back through use and wear – buy cheap, buy twice! Try purchasing from more sustainable brands such as This Is Unfolded who make clothes to order to avoid unnecessary waste and landfill which means they are able to pay their workers a higher wage and even support a child’s education for every order! An amazing business model which we will hopefully see more companies adopting.
More sustainable brands to look out for are: Heiko Clothing, Organic Basics, Honest Basics, Wearth, and so many more! To find more sustainable and ethical brands, take a look at the Good On You app and website which ranks fashion brands on how ethical they are in regards to labour, environment, and animal cruelty. Simply search for the brand you are thinking of purchasing from and they will tell you how they are doing in each of these categories!
Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, Danny Sriskandarajah, states that, “Buying second-hand clothes helps to slow the ferocious fast fashion cycle, giving garments a second lease of life”. Purchasing from second hand and vintage shops is a great habit to get into, as well as the high street charity shops to choose from, there are also a number of online second-hand shops for you to browse. Why not check out Thrift+, Refashion, Depop and Vinted?