The landscape of fashion is changing. There is no longer an emphasis on quality items that will last several seasons.
Instead, the popular concept seems to be newness. To buy new items all the time to keep up with fashion.
But what impact does this kind of fast fashion have on the environment?
Let's look into this concept in greater detail...
What Is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion is the idea of constantly creating low cost fashion items to replicate current catwalk trends or celebrity fashions.
The emphasis is on keeping up with the Joneses as opposed to reusing classic wardrobe pieces.It is about a frenzy of buying each time the season changes to have the most up to date wardrobe possible.
Unfortunately, it is the environment that loses out in this high production environment. In the quest to produce enough items to meet demand, some environmental corners are cut.
What Is The Environmental Impact?
Fast fashion has a negative impact on our environment. The production of it results in high levels of water pollution. This pollution is created by using toxic chemicals to create the bright and beautiful patterns we love. In fact, textile dying is one of the largest causes of freshwater pollution, second only to agriculture.
Then there are fabrics such as polyester that release tiny plastic microfibres when they are washed. These fibres end up in our oceans and are digested by small sea creatures. The circle of life means that eventually as larger fish eat the smaller ones and end up on our plates - we are ingesting plastic!
That is even without touching on the ever increasing amount of textile waste.
Women walk past tannery wastewater that is being pumped from a factory straight into the street, in Cairo’s Ain el-Sirra district ( Reuters )
What Can We Do About It?
It needs to start with a change in mindset. Instead of constantly buying new, recycle what you have. Swap clothes with friends for variation, or do your shopping at an Op Shop where you can breathe new life into preloved pieces.
When you do have to buy a new key piece for your wardrobe, make sure you choose to buy from a sustainable supplier. Those that produce their clothes ethically and with the environment in mind.
All of my fabrics are produced in this way. It is very important to me that they are sustainable and of a high quality. Check out my Facebook page for the fabrics and patterns I have available to purchase. My website will be revamped and updated very soon with a shop selling fabrics and other products.