I’ve come to the realization that with an audience as big as mine (nearly 17 followers from Sri – Lanka!!! Are you guys hacking me?? HAHA??), it has become selfish not to use my platform as a tool to better today’s society. After a school capstone project in my final semester of university, I’ve become obsessed with researching the negative effects of the fashion industry, and looking for ways to devote my consumerist habits in the direction of sustainable fashion.
Peaceful Dumplings really lays it all out in this article https://www.peacefuldumpling.com/facts-about-fast-fashion – this shit makes me sweat profusely, and makes me want to run into my closet and light the entire thing on fire and wear bed sheets for the rest of my life but that wouldn’t do anybody any good.
Here is an excerpt from a paper I wrote on the topic that I think really captures the main problem with fashion if you haven’t already gotten the point:
Fast fashion is contributing to an environmental crisis as the second largest source of pollution worldwide, second to oil (Kurdyla, 2015). Fast fashion is also contributing to economic downturns globally, as 1 in 6 people work in the global fashion industry most which are women earning less than $3 per day (Kurdlyla, 2015). Even within North America, the growth of fast fashion is closing the gap between luxury and discount retailers, which has negative economic effects for our society. It is critical at this pivotal point that consumers are aware of the impact their purchasing behaviour has globally.
ITS REALLY BAD PEOPLE!!!!! KNOCK IT OFF!!!!
All jokes aside it actually is like really fucking bad – for a few different reasons. As you can see the problem is two-fold, bad for the environment, and bad for the economy – most notably for underpaid workers in 3rd world countries who are making Forever 21 sweaters on lunch breaks they never get. In the last 3 years’ fashion went from having 4 seasons to like 44 seasons (not to scale). Soon, nobody will be able to keep up and the whole thing will spiral out of control!!!!
Here are 3 big things we can do to end this trend:
- Shop at sustainable companies
In Toronto, there are tons of new initiatives who are building a brand based on sustainable sourced garments. Some to check out are Uncle Studios, and UnCo. (from Ryerson Grads!!!). Companies who are investing in recycled fabrics, and who are paying fair wages to workers, preferably locally are the most ideal. But paying more at places like Aritzia, Nordstrom, Hudson’s Bay, Club Monaco, etc for well-made clothing that will last you longer, is STILL a more environmentally conscious decision. Buying less, and wearing your clothes for longer is a change in the right direction.
- Shop Vintage
The more we recycle clothing, the less NEW clothes will need to be made in factories. AND less clothing will be going to the landfill!
** Keep in mind that 80% of donated clothing items end up in landfills, so carelessly consuming fashion with the thought of just donating it later is NOT a sustainable way to live!!! (watch this video http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/old-clothes-fashion-waste-crisis-494824.html)
But still, recycling your unwanted items, and shopping thrift is a move in the right direction.
- Shop less
The number one thing we can do is to unsubscribe from the system. I’ve made a conscious effort to abandon shopping habits all together, but especially to give up frequenting places like Zara, and H&M to buy things for one time occasions. I’ve stopped trying to live up to the style icons of Instagram, and just started appreciating and making the most of the wardrobe I already have. For example, instead of buying a new dress to wear to my convocation last week, I just re-vamped an old dress that I already owned to make it new for the occasion. Shopping less, has forced me to become creative with my wardrobe and has also encouraged me to appreciate the items I have.
I hope these tips help, and if you weren’t already aware of the severity of the FASHION industry I hope this helped shed some light on that topic!!
Peace & blessings & dumplings