Fast fashion describes the rapid rate at which designers take trends from the runway, manufacture them and ship them off to retailers in a matter of weeks.
Meanwhile, consumers around the world are busy scanning the aisles of Zara and Forever 21 looking for the best deal at an alarming quantity.
Although the fashion industry as a whole can’t be held fully guilty, the retailers who are raking out dozens of new styles per week and the consumers who purchase them are both partially at fault.
According to Ginny Snook Scott, the chief design officer of California Closets, the average American only uses about 20 percent of their closet on a daily basis.
Every year, Americans throw away 13 million tons of textiles, which accounts for about 85 percent of their closets and 9 percent of the total non-recycled waste in the U.S.
Although it seems like an impossible problem, the solution lies in individuals who are doing their part to lessen the landfill load.
North Dakota State apparel studies student, Kayla Hexum is using “up-cycling” as a way to combat consumerism and reuse some of her old denim.
“I created patchwork overalls made from denim from my dad’s old jeans,” Hexum said. “I have wanted a pair of overalls for a while now, but I am not someone who would go out and spend a lot of money on a pair.”
So where did the inspiration come from? Hexum explained that it’s all about finding potential in the unexpected.
“When I was home one weekend, I saw a pile of jeans that were either ripped, stained or too small, and the idea just came,” Hexum explained. “The thought of taking something that someone said was worthless or trash and making it into something unique and beautiful was really intriguing to me.”
Hexum modeled her own design at the NDSU Fashion and Business Organization’s annual fashion show.
Beyond her talent for reconstructing denim, Hexum also owns and runs an Etsy shop called “Eakboutique,” where she sells up-cycled mittens, headbands, wall hangings, bags and tea towels.
Although fast fashion is a cause for concern, Hexum said the technological advancements that it has brought to the world should be celebrated.
“I think it is so cool how fast different trends and ideas can be spread around the world. It shows how far the fashion industry has come with their use of technology and innovation,” Hexum said.
Despite the celebrated growth, Hexum explained that we, as consumers, need to be wary of the issue of consumerism.
“We need to be careful with the volume of products we are creating because ultimately those clothes are going to end up in a landfill,” Hexum said.
Now, what is next for Hexum?
“I am hoping to grow my Etsy shop and make a career out of creating and doing things that I love,” Hexum shared.