Environment

Unsustainability of Fast Fashion

Fashion has always been an indispensable part of our contemporary lifestyle. Everyone loves fashion: splendid wardrobe, gorgeous accessories, uniqueness... What's not to adore? However, as a part of this community we are oblivious to the hazardous impact our love for fashion has on the environment.

Nowadays, “Fast fashion” has become a buzzword in the realm of sustainability. Fast fashion refers to a design, production, and marketing approach that focuses on creating large quantities of garments in a short period. Garment manufacturers are producing cheap clothes that utilise poorer quality materials and imitating style trends that attract more customers, resulting in excessive consumption. Thus, consumption of clothing grew over 60% in 2014 compared to 2000.

Fall, winter, spring, and summer were the four seasons fashion business was established upon. However, after the mid-twentieth century the trend shifted drastically. Consequently, the fashion business has now up to 52 micro-seasons or one new trend per week format.

As fast fashion expands at a startling rate, it has induced high street businesses to reanalyze their business strategies so as to emulate the fast fashion model and follow the suit. Furthermore, Instead of charging a little more for higher-quality clothes, businesses now curtail the cost and quality of their apparel to entice customers to buy more from them, resulting in a growing quantity of waste. Unfortunately, this has adverse impacts on the climate, garment workers, and, eventually, customers' wallets. 

In 2016, the Fair Fashion Center deduced that the global garment business affects 150 million people daily. The vast majority of these laborers are underpaid and work in deplorable circumstances. In addition, Fashion is also the world's second greatest user of water, using between 6 and 9 trillion litres each year. It accounts for 20% of the world's wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions! To create a pair of cotton jeans, nearly 2000 gallons of water is used. 

Moreover, Fast Fashion employs a lot of hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process. These toxic chemicals are employed not only in the growth of fibres, but also in dyeing and textile processing. Cotton, which accounts for almost half of all textiles, is one of the dirtiest crops, needing the most chemicals when cultivated conventionally: 18 percent of the world's pesticides and 25 percent of the world's insecticides. The cotton used to create a typical t-shirt contains 17 teaspoons of chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

Not only that, most apparels have a poor end-of-life situation. The fast-fashion production method leaves a lot to be desired, and products are sometimes discarded after only a few wears. Thus, it surely does not promote a circular economy. According to the Fair Fashion Center, 21 billion tonnes of textile waste is disposed of in landfills each year. Because 64% of modern textiles include some type of plastic, they will never biodegrade. Also, some brands like Burberry physically burn their unsold items to maintain brand exclusivity.

Many other aspects of contemporary living are also primarily recognized to cause environmental harm. For instance travelling overseas, using throwaway plastic products, and even commuting to and from work. Hence, the blog aims, not to make anyone feel culpable about buying clothes but to have us think about our purchasing patterns and the value of each action in curtailing the quantity of clothing waste formulated. Apparently, by supporting ethical businesses that make sustainable products, we assert that we want more of such things. Fast fashion only prevails because we persist in promoting it. The best sustainable fashion purchasing option you can make is to use what you currently have, with good maintenance and easy repair procedures. If you must purchase new, buy quality. Consider purchasing second-hand clothing as well. It may not appear to be much, but every action adds up.

Sources:

https://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/2016/Black-Friday-Greenpeace-calls-timeout-for-fast-fashion/ 

https://www.sustainablejungle.com/sustainable-living/ethical-sustainable-fashion/ 

Sources for Statistics:

https://www.nwf.org/en/Magazines/National-Wildlife/2006/Cotton-and-Pesticides

https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/estimating-the-carbon-footprint-of-a-fabric/

https://wateruseitwisely.com/it-takes-1800-gallons-of-water-to-make-one-pair-of-jeans/

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/where-does-discarded-clothing-go/374613/


Submitted by Drishti