We’re all aware that ‘fast fashion’ is a dirty statement, but most main-stream shoppers don’t understand just how far-reaching the impacts of fast fashion really are. The fashion industry is notoriously shrouded in secrecy, and the facts aren’t really something fast fashion houses are proud to have printed on their swing tags.
Raising awareness around the issues of fast fashion is what I do, and I’m passionate about inspiring shoppers to think ethically and sustainably about their wardrobes. We need to start thinking about the industry with long-term environmental goals in mind, and working past ‘the next season’ with practices and policies that ensure a future for our planet and its people.
I recently posted on Instagram about the kerbside trash problem in Australia, and about how we’ve become a throwaway society with little to no regard of the long-term impacts of our shopping and trashing choices. I received comments from Instagram users all over the world, and in particular, one comment stuck with me.
It’s a statistic that was revealed at this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, and I can’t get it out of my mind: 53 million tonnes of clothing will be produced this year and 87% of it will be landfilled or be incinerated.
It’s a fact that we cannot ignore any longer.
If 87% of those garments are going to waste, why are we making them? Why are we pushing and pushing and selling and selling, when those 53 million tonnes of clothing are not being valued, loved, cared for, and cherished?
If 87% of new clothing is destined for landfill or the incinerator, are we being conscious of what it's all made of? What toxic chemicals are leaching into the soil and into the air when this clothing decomposes or burns up? Are we considering the fact that some of it doesn't decompose at all?
If you’re not already thinking about these facts with every purchase, now is a great time to start. We all need clothes but we don’t need three of the same thing in three different prints. We don’t need four pairs of blue jeans, we don’t need ten white tees with slightly different cuts, and we don’t need to buy something new every time it’s touted as a trend.
What we need, is a systematic change in the fashion industry and a shift in our own behaviour.
As a society, we value moving fast and moving forward as positive traits, but we need to realise that the same characteristics do not apply to consumer goods. Fashion cannot continue churning and churning and wasting and wasting, it's not working. We need to readjust the way we engage with fashion, and instead slow down and revert to traditional ways.
You have the power to change the statistics and do something about the 53 million tonnes of clothing that will be produced this year. The fact that you're reading this is a great start but don't stop here.
Be conscious of your buying habits, buy local, buy ethically made, try clothing hire, choose sustainable or natural fabrics, buy second hand, and invest in lifetime pieces.
The Fashion Advocate x
That is a scary scary number!
Definitely as I grow older I become more aware of the impact my love of fashion has on the environment. I’d like to think I’ve come a long way from where I used to be, but I still have a long way to go.
Thank you for highlighting these numbers Claire. They inspire me to shop smarter and hopefully do my bit for the environment and all of those living in it.