Hello! This is Elena from Business team. Hope you all are doing well:)
Since it's getting colder here in England as well, I've been looking for a nice sweater for the upcoming cold seasons. I usually prefer handmade products and small businesses, but as a uni student, I tend to look for cheaper alternatives in clothing and accessories as it is hard to afford. These cheaper alternatives often come in the form of fast fashion. Although I am also a consumer of fast fashion, I cannot ignore the negative consequences that arise from it. So I decided to write a bit about fast fashion today.
Fast fashion has become ubiquitous in today’s consumer society. With cheap fashion brands placing a significant strain on the environment. The effects of fashion have become so significant, that it is now being considered the third most polluting industry following the gas and oil sector. It's also estimated that on average western households produce 30kg of waste through clothing a year, of which only 4.5kg is recycled or donated. This mass production of waste has become even worse, with the unwanted clothing that has been introduced through fast fashion.
The concept of fast fashion is to produce large amounts of clothing with cheap materials in order to sell under the prices of the competitors. This allows consumers to purchase clothing they desire for a cheap price. However, as aforementioned there are many issues that arise from this. As the materials and the price of the clothing is cheap, consumers have a tendency to easily dispose of these clothes after a few uses. Furthermore, as the aim of these companies is to reduce the price as much as possible, they outsource their work to take advantage of cheap laborers in other countries, negatively contributing to the exploitation of workers.
This disposing of clothing has had a detrimental effect on both water pollution and gas emissions. The manufacturing of garments has accounted for nearly 20% of global industrial water pollution, which is noticeable in how it takes 10,000 liters to produce sufficient cotton for a single pair of jeans. Gas emissions have also become an increasing problem, as Carbon emission driven by UK households in regards to clothing equals that to driving cars for 6000 miles. Mostly the emissions are generated by dyeing and finishing (36%), yarn preparation (28%) and fibre production (15%). While these figures pose a significant challenge, there has been an influx of innovative strategies to counteract these negative effects.
There are many ways to prevent further affecting the environment. Some of the ways I try to reuse clothes is by reshaping old jeans into a nice handbag or by handing down clothes to my sibling.
I'd like to hear how you reduce the waste of clothing and the effects on the environment. Thank you for reading!