Good for your bank account, bad for the planet

Nicole James Kestilla | Photo Courtesy
Clothing that could be reused often end up in landfills.

Why fast fashion is destroying our environment

Most people don’t know what fast fashion is, and that’s okay. I didn’t know what this was or why it is such a problem until this year. This term is used to describe fashion retailers that sell cheap and trendy clothes. These pieces of clothing move quickly from the runway to the clothing rack to meet the high demand of changing trends throughout the year.

You are probably wondering why there is such a high demand for new clothing since it seems like there are only four seasons in the year. Over the last two decades, the fashion industry has changed drastically and clothing has become cheaper. With trends changing fast, shopping is becoming more of a monthly thing, or even weekly for some of us, rather than once or twice a year.

So, what’s the big deal with trends changing so quickly in our society? There are huge environmental impacts on fast fashion. Did you know it takes about 700 gallons of water to make only one cotton shirt? That same shirt also takes 80 years to decompose at a landfill.

The fashion industry is a problem in our society, as it’s the second-most polluting industry in the world. Due to the high demand for the newest trends, a lot of environmental corners are cut to make the most profit possible. Many clothes that are being thrown out and sent to landfills could have been sent to a thrift store or repurposed.

Human rights are also a huge problem in this multi-billion-dollar industry. There are about 40 million garment workers, and about 85% of them are women. Many of these workers have little protection or rights. Only 2% of them make enough money for basic human needs.

I hope by now you are as mad as I am about this problem that we have created in our society. Luckily there are many things we can do in order to solve it. There are a lot of affordable, stylish and ethically sourced clothing options.

One way that you can be more ethical when buying new clothes is by going to your local thrift store. I know with Covid-19 shopping has changed even more drastically from in-person to online. Good thing there are online thrift stores that you can download on your phone, so there are no excuses. The ones that I use and like the most are Depop, Poshmark and Curtsy.

If for some reason you feel weird about buying used clothing here are some brands that make clothing ethically that I have personally bought from Pact, Patagonia and Alternative. These three brands are all based right here in America and they are mostly affordable. Of course, there are more ethical clothing brands but that could be the entire focus of another article.

Another way that you can help solve this problem is to avoid stores that buy fast fashion clothing. There are a lot of websites that are very helpful in letting the public know what stores are not helping us with the fight to save our environment.

Finally, like any other controversial topic, the best way to spread the word is to educate others. Fast fashion is destroying the world that we live in, yet not a lot of people know about it. We only get one earth, and we should be treating it that way.

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