Just over a year ago, I started on this low-impact journey after seeing the impacts of climate change. My main goal was to reduce my plastic usage however as I delved deeper into the world of sustainability, I discovered the world’s second-largest polluter: the fashion industry.
I’d never really considered the impact that my wardrobe was having on the environment before then and whilst I was aware of some murky ethics surrounding brands like Primark, I was uneducated and in the dark about it all.
Up until 2019, I was addicted to fast fashion. I had a folder on my phone filled with shopping apps, spent most of my free time curating wishlists of clothes to buy on payday and I truly believed that H&M’s ‘conscious’ collection was sustainable.
Then, after a lot of reading and learning, I quit fast fashion.
It was a bit strange at first. Deleting all the apps and unsubscribing from the mailing lists was easy, but the urge to visit the website when I was feeling a little down or needed some new clothes was strong. When we buy something new, our brains get the surge of dopamine we so badly crave but suddenly, it just didn’t seem worth it for me.
Now, when I look at a £3.99 t-shirt from H&M, I don’t see a shirt, I see: The vast amount of land needed to grow the cotton, litres and litres of water, pesticides, intensive and low-paid labour, the toxic dyes leaching into vital waterways, unsafe factories, young women being paid less than minimum wage to sew and billionaires profiting from exploiting the earth and its inhabitants.
Related: A Guide To Sustainable Materials
The Problem with Fast Fashion
Clothing is the cheapest and most accessible it’s ever been; but should it be that way? £30 billion worth of unworn clothes
I know that Ethically made clothes are expensive and generally inaccessible due to the price and lack of inclusive sizing but really, the best ways to have a more sustainable wardrobe are to swap clothes with your friends and family, shop second-hand or just not buy anything at all…odds are, you’ve already got what you need.
Here are 5 reasons why I quit fast fashion, and you should too…
- Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year. About 64% of new clothes are made from plastics – this results in microplastics going into our oceans and old clothes which will take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills – if they’re not burned first.
- Producing 1kg of conventionally farmed cotton uses as much water as a person drinks in 13 years. 1kg of cotton is only enough to make a
t-shirt,or a pair of jeans.
- The fashion industry emits around 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
- Most garments are made overseas by young women who earn 1-3% of the cost of the garment that they’re making. Often, they’re exposed to unsafe conditions, hostile work environments and toxic chemicals which are used in some forms of textile processing.
- The aforementioned toxic chemicals from dyes & turning pulps into thread often are released to the local environment and waterways which can destroy local communities. 20% of water pollution comes from the fashion industry and 200,000 tonnes of dyes seep into the water each year.
So, have I convinced you to give your next ASOS order a miss? I’d love to hear all your thoughts on this topic & industry, whether that’s in the comments or over on my I
Have a lovely day & bye for now!