Why We Should Avoid Fast Fashion - Especially During Coronavirus
Is being in quarantine the new start for sustainability?
What is Fast Fashion?
"An approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers." -Merriam Webster
In the past couple of years, and more recently as the rise of environment-activists increases, we have seen the term "fast-fashion" used more often in the media. But what exactly is fast fashion, and why is the industry so detrimental to the environment?
Currently, fast fashion brands produce about 52 “micro-seasons” a year. This means at least one new collection, or product launch, every week.
By doing this, brands are able to create immense amounts of clothing without consumers becoming tired of trends too quickly. This causes a sense of urgency for a buyer; if they don't purchase an item as soon as possible, by the time they do it will be out of "style".
As written by Audrey Stanton for The Good Trade, "Fast fashion utilizes trend replication, rapid production, and low quality materials in order to bring inexpensive styles to the public." Unfortunately, this results in detrimental impacts to the environment and societal standards, and as consumers, to our finances.
"Each year, the clothing that is simply thrown away amounts to about 11 million tons in the US alone."
These clothing items are typically full of lead, pesticides, and countless other chemicals, and almost never break down. They release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and make other large contributors to global warming's carbon footprint look rather small in comparison.
How Do We Reduce Our Fashion-Footprint?
The good news is that with this increase in fast-fashion is also an increase in conscious fashion. More people in the media are turning to sustainable clothing, and with that, a variety of sustainable clothing brands are gaining momentum on social media.
What is the Slow Fashion Movement?
"Slow fashion is a movement towards mindful manufacturing, fair labor rights, natural materials, and lasting garments. Conscious fashion means there are brands, communities, and individuals who are fighting for the safety of our earth and fellow humans. Buying a garment from a responsible brand ensures that you have agency over your personal style, are getting a quality product, and are protecting those that need it most.", an excerpt from Sustain Your Style explains.
It goes on to describe some ways in which we can reduce our contribution to fast fashion consumerism. Simply buying less and purchasing from sustainable clothing brands can make a positive impact. Thrifting and recycling clothing items can make a world of a difference as well.
How Does the Coronavirus Play Into Reducing Fast Fashion?
Caroline Rush, the Chief Executive of British Fashion Council said in a recent interview for EuroNews that fashion designers would most likely turn to recycling their products, "so that the product we have is re-used, shredded, goes back into new yarns and created for the future".
"My optimism is, as we go through this, that we really think about the inventory challenge that we’re facing for this season, and use that as a unique opportunity to really think down the line: what will happen to that stock, where will it go?"
"Our industry does have an impact on the planet – it brings a lot of joy to a lot of people, but there are definitely things that we could do better and now is the time to think about that."
Due to the Stay-At-Home orders circulating throughout the globe, there is less and less need to go out and look good in public. I genuinely believe that this a period of time that, despite lack of public appearances, can be used for good. My hope is that others understand the need for this as well and don't feel compelled to purchase clothes from brands that support the fast-fashion industry. If you are struggling to find sustainable clothing brands, here are a few that source sustainably and support great causes:
- Nature Backs
- Serengetee (use code ABBIEANN20 for 20% off your purchase)
- Parks Project
- Happy Earth Apparel
- Keep Nature Wild
By no means should you feel pressured to go completely sustainable, nor should you feel guilty for purchasing from a fast-fashion brand, however it is important to be conscious of how often you purchase from these brands.
One little change can make a big difference.