Fast Fashion describes the trend for clothing industries trying to sell cheap and poor quality clothing based on seasonal trends and rapidly changing ‘fashions’. It is a lucrative business model that encourages consumers to buy more, creating more waste and often exploiting poorly paid workers. But this mentality is creating huge problems for our environment:
- The clothing industry produces 10% of all carbon emissions globally and this is set to rise by 50% by 2030.
- Clothing manufacture is the second largest consumer of the world’s fresh water.
- 20% of industrial water pollution globally is from textile treatment and dyeing.
- Cotton production uses 6% of the world’s pesticides and 16% of the world’s insecticides.
- Clothing manufacture uses 15% of all plastics produced globally. Even clothing brands that claim to use recycled plastics typically only contain between 0.5-4% recycled plastics.
- 35% of all micro-plastics in the oceans come from laundering synthetic textiles adding half a million tonnes of microfibres to the oceans each year – the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.
- £140 million worth of clothing is sent to UK landfill sites each year.
- Less than 1% of used clothing is recycled.
Buying ethical is not cheap compared to the fast fashion prices we are used to, but remember that the cost of ethical clothing reflects the true cost of paying a fair wage and ensuring minimal impact on the environment. If you want to buy ethical check out Good on You list of UK ethical clothing brands.
On the naughty list – here are the brands to avoid:
The BooHoo Group (Includes Burton, Wallis, Maine New England, Karen Millen,Pretty Little Things, MisPap, Dorothy Perkins, Oasis, Coast, Warehouse, Nasty Gal), Primark, Amazon, TKMaxx, Next, Marks and Spencers, Gap, Shein, Misguided.
Mend or Upcycle:
The Love Your Clothes campaign was set up to help change the way the UK consumers buy, use and dispose of their clothing. They have a load of tutorials and video guides online for mending and upcycling your clothes.
R:evolve Recycle host regular “Meet, Make and Mend” workshops. Also check out Upcycle My Stuff for ideas on how to revamp your old clothes.
If you no longer want an item of clothing but it is still in good condition, then wash and iron it and donate it to a local charity shop. Find your nearest one here: Charity Shop Finder.
If you can’t fix, upcycle, sell, share or give away unwanted items, they can still go into a textile recycling bank. Find your nearest facility on the Love Your Clothes website.
Other ways to get involved in tackling fast fashion:
- Join the Fashion Revolution and work through their suggested actions. They even have a guide of how to take digital action against the fashion industry.
- Learn what clothing brands are signatories of SCAP 2020. The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 Commitment (SCAP 2020) set out to cut carbon, water and waste by influencing product design and manufacture, re-use and recycling.
- You could even tweet any brands who have not achieved their commitments yet.
- Check out JunkKouture an amazing competition for young people to design clothes using recycled JUNK!