Fast fashion is an addiction. Flicking through the racks at your local Zara or scrolling through ASOS while laying in bed, browsing what seems like a total steal is addictive. Why the hell wouldn’t I want a trenchcoat for less than the cost of a week’s rent?
The allure of fast fashion is nearly irresistible, you’re basically getting that same #trendy designer ‘look’ without the price tag, right? Wrong. Fast fashion f*cking sucks. The problem with fast fashion isn’t just the poor quality, it’s actually KILLING people AND destroying the environment.
While it may seem like those faux Gucci loafers at Zara are a great deal, they’re probably going to costs you a butt load of money in the long-run. And that’s not even the worst of it.
FAST FACTS ON FAST FASHION:
- 426 fashion/textile workers died in Bangladesh in 2017.
- The clothing industry is the second biggest polluter in the world (after oil).
- 7,000 litres of water are needed to produce one pair of jeans.
- Garment factory workers can be paid as low as $1 a day.
- The average person purchases 60% more clothing than in 2002 and keeps it for half as long.
- Some clothing (like lycra sports attire) can take up to 200 years to decompose in landfill.
Fast fashion literally sucks for everyone. You get a shitty quality product that’ll end up in landfill in a couple of months, the workers who make your clothes are not only underpaid but are working in such terrible conditions that people are actually dying, and that’s not even touching on the environmental impact of fast fashion. So why are we all still stocking our wardrobes with this shit and how do we dial 1800-QUIT on the fast fashion game?
I’m not saying you have to completely quit fast fashion (I sure haven’t), these are just some tips to minimise your contribution to the industry while looking stylish AF.
If you need to buy clothes, invest in good quality garments that will last you a long time. Spend a little more money and buy a good quality pair of jeans for $200 rather than buying the $40 pair that you’ll replace every three months. Find your own personal style, rather than following the constantly changing world of fast fashion.
Remember: Any contribution is better than no contribution. If you can’t afford to invest in higher quality for every item, do what you can. You’re not a terrible person for buying the H&M jeans because you can’t justify the expensive/ethical ones. Be ethical where you can.
I’ve always loved secondhand stores for cool homewares and decor, but finding fashion while thrifting is a relatively new hobby of mine. Not only is this a much more ethical/environmentally-friendly/budget-friendly option, but its also way more fun than regular shopping. Grab some of your friends and make an afternoon of it, you’d be surprised what you can find (especially in the men’s section). If you’re grossed out by secondhand clothes, you should definitely be grossed out by workers in 3rd world countries dying for your fast fashion.
If you have a sister, you’re probably already doing this, but if not: borrow shit. You and your bff don’t both need that bright red party dress. If you love the dress your friend wore to your birthday but you know you’ll only wear it once or twice, ask if you can borrow it. Sharing clothes not only prevents stuff from going to landfill, it also saves you both money (and gives you both more clothes to choose from – bonus).
This is kinda the same thing as the previous point, but I’m separating it because it’s kinda different. Grab all of your closest friends, grab all of the clothes you don’t want anymore and have a swap sesh. This gives you all the opportunity to pick out some new pieces before it ends up in land fill, you’re saving the planet AND getting free shit.
You can also take your old clothes to places like SWOP Clothing Exchange (Brisbane and Newtown). They’ll buy your old clothes and give you money or store credit to buy new (old) vintage pieces. Obviously donate anything you have left over to your local salvos/secondhand store.