Production, consumption, landfill. That’s the short life cycle of fast fashion today. The new throwaway culture of homogenised clothing is making fashion unfashionable… So, is green the new black?
Fast fashion now means that everyone shopping on the high street is wearing the same thing and as quickly as we’re purchasing the items, we’re throwing them out. Brand new dress, exit stage right. Now that cheap clothing is at our fingertips, the shelf life of clothes is a matter of months and landfills are full
We have a distinct need for clothes in order to communicate our individuality; fashion’s role in society is so deeply rooted as we all communicate by what we’re wearing and how we wear it.
Fast fashion is the new norm, sparked by the industrial revolution, the invention of the sewing machine and standardised sizing the consumption of clothing accelerated. What once took one seamstress many intense weeks and days to make, now takes a machine under an hour.
Our clothes are failing to provide us with a unique identity anymore… Fashion is suddenly becoming unfashionable.
encouraging consumers to speed up their consumption of fashion and therefore assume a detrimental role in the throwaway culture that is today’s fashion industry.
Season trends or just fashion fads?
“Seasons” in the fashion world have little to do with temperature.
However, there’s a sense of irony that industry is worth so much as a whole, yet the garment’s become worthless to the consumer in such a short period of time.
these vast amounts of clothing and textiles being brought aren’t valued for long in today’s culture; clothes that we no longer have a use for are ending up where all our unwanted items go: Landfill.
We spend £780 a year each on clothes and as a population, just over three million tonnes of clothing and textiles flow through our boarders each year – approximately 55kg per person – that’s around 100 apples in weight. As for waste, in the UK alone, we send 30kg of clothing and textiles per capita to landfill each year. If you do the maths, this means almost half of everything we buy ends up back in the landfill.
Items of clothing can surely never be ‘so last year’ because they won’t degrade for millions of years.
People often forget about clothing when they think of sustainability issues, they often think of plastic from food packaging or plastic bottles, not fashion garments. After all, our clothes don’t have a reduce reuse recycle label. And perhaps that is one way that change could be made, by raising awareness.
This conveys the effects of fast fashion and illuminates the issues modern fashion faces.
To those who say clothes aren’t a concern regarding sustainability’ I say… what a load of rubbish (… get it?)
Recycling all of those textiles would have the same environmental impact as removing 7.3 million cars (and the carbon dioxide emissions that they emit) off the road.
Landfills are becoming less viable due to high costs, land-use issues and greenhouse gas emissions and there we need change… And to do this, perhaps we need to look to the past. It seems the solution may be reverting to how clothes used to be made. We need a fashion time machine. Not just to make big hair and neon clothes cool again but in the early twentieth century the fashion trend was exceedingly slow, the emphasis was on mending the garments instead of buying new ones.
Maybe we can look back over the timeline of fashion, retrace our steps and fix what went wrong. We should reconsider and perhaps think: reduce, reuse, up-cycle…
This slowing down of the fashion industry doesn’t have the most inventive name: slow fashion.
The slow fashion movement has been recognised as one avenue for achieving sustainability in the fashion industry. A fashion first aid kit.
Fast fashion and sustainability don’t mix; they are an oxymoron. Fast fashion survives even when environmental and social resources are neglected, whilst sustainable development allows for social and environmental improvement.
So, for the future, perhaps we need to look to the past. Start by saying ‘no’ to landfill and ‘hello’ to upcycling.
So, you could say that sustainability is going to be more fashionable than fashion. Perhaps green is the new black and you heard it from here first.
Does my Carbon footprint look big in this?
So, how big is your fashion footprint?
When we think of the fashion industry, carbon emissions and sustainability aren’t exactly the first things that spring to mind first. Has it accelerated too far? The answer is yes.
The fashion industry is the beating heart of our current world yet we often forget about the dark underbelly of the beast that is Fast Fashion, the side that’s starving us of our resources and with a growing consumer demand
this notion of sustainability is an oxymoron to the current state of the fashion today. The ugly face of the fashion industry: the carbon footprint of our wardrobe.
With technology at our fingertips, there’s no such thing as expensive fabric and this comes at a cost: chemical spills, deforestation, cheap labour they’re all ingredients to the reasons for unsustainability. With 2 million tonnes of clothing purchased each year in the UK alone, that’s the equivalent of four hundred thousand elephants. That’s huge.
As pollution increases and natural resources diminish, there have been many adverse effects on the environment. Fast fashion leaves a huge pollution footprint,
but environmental fashionistas argue that all this has a cost that we are not able to see on the price tag. Take a new blouse for example… The issue is universal. The blouse then gets into your hands and we have no idea how much this one item has affected the environment. We simply pay and just take our little bag of un-sustainability home.
Why aren’t we addressing the issue as much as we dress ourselves?
How do we solve the issue? The answer to this is that there isn’t a clear one. We need to make sustainability a staple in our wardrobes, make it trendy to be environmentally aware and make the future of fashion brighter. So, next time you’re about to buy an item of clothing take a second to remember how it was made and think: does my carbon footprint look big in this?