In this op-ed, The Teen Edit explains the harmful effects of fast fashion and how you can take steps to limit your consumption of it.
Everyone can do simple things to make a difference and very little bit really does count.Stella McCartney
There is widespread global warming, the number of animals going extinct are rising, icebergs are melting, forest fires are hotter than ever and our rapid consumption rate of fast fashion is slowing down the degradation of materials, thus speeding up the rate at which the earth is heating up.
To understand, how our consumption of fast fashion is depleting the earth’s resources, it is important to fully understand what fast fashion is. So, what is fast fashion? Fast fashion is a term used to describe the trendy and inexpensive clothes that are derived and moved quickly from catwalks and celebrity culture and sold by large retailers, so that everyone has the opportunity to keep up with the latest trends.
The motive behind fast fashion sounds appealing, but the outcome is dangerous. This is because of the harmful effects of it on the environment. Here are some of the most harmful impacts of fast fashion on the environment:
- Firstly, it produces an extremely high amount of greenhouse gases emissions, which produces a crippling impact on the environment.
- One of the most common materials used by the people who retail large quantities of clothing is polyester. Polyester is very harmful due to the fact that when garments containing it are washed, microplastic is released, which eventually goes to water sources and can be potentially consumed too. Unfortunately, microplastics are so small that they are very hard to remove.
- Most of our clothes, end up in landfills, where they cannot break down. Also, many famous brands keep incinerating clothes, which pollutes the environment.
- Fabric fibres (synthetics) are derived from fossil fuels. The problem with this is that eventually, the clothes end up in landfills and cannot decay.
- The process of producing a single garment requires tens of thousands of litres of water.
There are also some harmful effects of producing clothes at a quick rate and a cheap price. Some of the consequences on humans and animals are:
- Consumption of fast fashion encourages child labour because they are the ‘cheapest’ form of labour available. Sometimes, they are not even paid the minimum daily wage.
- Clothes and other items derived from and using animal parts, like fur and leather is depriving the animals of their lives and encouraging the extinction of various species.
- People making the clothes that supply large retailers are not necessarily working in safe conditions. They are commonly exposed to harmful materials and equipment.
This is where Stella McCartney comes in. She has received an enormous amount of attention for her sustainable practices. Stella is a celebrity designer, who refuses to make use of fur, leather and other such materials while making her clothes. Her designs have been worn by the likes of Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and many other A-listers.
She first, refused to make use of unsustainable methods while designing for Chloé in 1990. Her practices have been widely applauded and recognised and are also being implemented at many levels.
So, how can you limit your consumption of fast fashion? Here are just some of the ways by which you can contribute towards a better future:
- Choose sustainability. You can start off by purchasing items vegan, cruelty-free brands. Cut off your purchase of items that use animal parts completely.
- Start thrifting items. If you’ve been on Depop, you’ll know that you can find some unique pieces there. You may even find something to suit your style because there are so many styles there. In your locality, try to look for thrift stores or people selling their items on social media. However, make sure you are purchasing from a credible source.
- Try out some small brands. A lot of them make use of very sustainable practices, plus, purchasing from small brands is very personal.
- Make good use of the money you spend. Try to think to yourself why some of your clothes are so cheap, it’s obviously due to the materials and practices used by the brand from where you’re purchasing.
- Upcycle your products. This is a great way to spend time with yourself, be creative, make more sustainable choices and you can rightfully call yourself a designer too!
The sales made by fast fashion brands have rapidly increased during COVID-19, so limit your consumption before it is too late. The earth and it’s resources are already depleting at an extremely rapid rate, it is upto you if you want to fuel the fire or if you want to make amends to extinguish it.
We have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.Emma Watson
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