Hi, beauties and gentlemen!
Recently, I read an article about a popular chain clothing store facing bankruptcy, a chain store I’ve shopped in many, many times.
With the rise of online sales and the decline of in-store sales, I wasn’t exactly surprised by this news. However, there’s a more significant issue at hand than the closing of chain stores, and that issue is the effects of fast fashion.
Have you heard of the term “fast fashion?”
“Fast fashion” is inexpensive clothing that’s quickly made by mass-market retailers in response to trends. So, when your favorite high-fashion designers put their pieces on the runway, the mass-market retailers are anxiously waiting so they can quickly replicate and reproduce.
From H&M to Forever 21 to Zara to several other stores, fast fashion is alive and thriving, mainly because fashion lovers can score runway-like pieces for a fraction of the price.
I remember when a few of my favorite chain stores recreated the Chloé Faye pouch, except the difference was the price point and quality of the pouch. The Chloé version has beautiful embroidery and recognizable hardware. Plus, it won’t tarnish. However, the mass-produced version looks chic, and it’s several hundred dollars less.
As much as I love shopping the aisles of Zara and snagging dope pieces to add to my closet, fast fashion fuels consumerism, and in fueling consumerism, we contribute to the acceleration of carbon emissions and global warming (which is really scary)! When retailers continually keep up with the runway trends and churn out imitation pieces, the environment suffers. Our closets look a heck of a lot better, but our environment hurts in the process.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 84% of unwanted clothes in the U.S. went into a landfill or an incinerator. This stat was taken in 2012, so I can only imagine the percentage from 2019.
Some may wonder how a mere cotton t-shirt or trendy skirt causes this dangerous ripple effect.
Well, from my understanding, cotton is the most commonly used material in the world, and as many of these fast-fashion pieces are created with cotton, production plants are overusing one of the most chemically-dependent plants in our world, as it uses pesticides and insecticides during its growth process.
Alternate materials aren’t exactly any better either, as other fabrics do not biodegrade and require a lot of energy to make. Plus, there’s the overwhelming issue of the mistreatment of factory workers in these mass-producing plants.
With all the facts and science aside, I’ve been wondering how we can do our part to not contribute to the effects of fast fashion yet not break the bank by having to spend insane amounts of money on every article of clothing. So, I thought of a couple of tips that will do our planet some good (and keep you fly in the process):
When possible, invest in ethical clothing: Choose locally or nationally made items, as other items made from across the world contribute to carbon emissions and climate change.
Consider hang drying your clothes: This tip not only reduces your carbon footprint but also works in your advantage, too, as hanging clothes to dry, opposed to using an electric dryer, will keep the colors vibrant and material intact.
Save your coins for quality: Let’s say you want a pair of black pumps. You can buy a pair for about $60 from a mass retailer, but chances are, they will break, crack, or lose their integrity with a few wears. Then, you’ll end up replacing that pair with another $60 pair. Instead, save your money and invest in a quality pair that outlasts time. Spending a few hundred dollars on a nicer pair of heels pays off in the long run. If you wear those heels over 30 times, the price per wear is only a few bucks!
The best way to create change is by making small adjustments over long periods of time. I’m definitely going to think twice before filling my closet with fast fashion pieces because I believe scaling back will do the environment some good, especially if we commit to making little changes when possible. We have one planet, and we have to treat it right, especially for future generations to enjoy.
Readers, don’t be shy. Contact me and share your thoughts. Until next time!