“Wearing clothes created by bloody, overworked fingers is too high a cost to save money on clothes that we will need to replace repeatedly.”
Fast fashion, a phenomena of the past ten years, is not something I believe, or take part, in. Consequentially, a minimalist size wardrobe is something I believe passionately in, and an offset of that is believing that as a culture we have developed a habit of extreme wastage in all elements of life, least of all fashion.
As a culture, we are constantly hounded with messages encouraging us to want ‘more’. We shop on a whim because that’s what advertising encourages us to do (hurry – 25% off today only), and it works. We consume copious amounts of everything. Where there used to be only two cycles of clothing released per year, we now work on a 52 ‘micro seasons’ per year.
But what’s the consequence of this?
We all know the stories of where some of the cheapest clothes are made and by whom. The conditions of ‘sweatshops’ can be really harsh to see/hear. Ridiculously low wages, long hours and poor safety regulations only scratch the surface. You have to start to wonder how certain brands can afford to sell that t-shirt for $4.99. And let’s not forget the havoc fast fashion is creating environmentally.
Firstly, there’s the amount of water it takes to create a piece of clothing. It takes 2,700 liters of water to make just one t-shirt… that’s what the average human being drinks in 900 days. Secondly, there’s the chemicals; 1.7 million tones of it are used in the dying process of garments. What’s done with the leftover materials left on the floor of clothing manufacturing factories you may ask? Well, of the 400 billion square metres of textiles that are used a year, 60 billion goes to waste and ends up in landfills.
How can we change this? It comes down to many things, but one of the quickest ways you can contribute is to change your buying habits.
Firstly, don’t buy your clothing at stores known for their unethical habits. I know it’s a small start, but eventually it will add up. Secondly, buy less! It may seem hard, but you’ll soon realise you don’t need much for a functional wardrobe; and when you do buy, do so with intention. Research your product and buy something of excellent design and craftsmanship so you won’t have to go and replace that item in a months, or even a weeks, time. Lastly, spread the word. More talk will eventually become more action
Now go and kick some ass.
P.S. For more facts and figures, visit Greenpeace.