December 14 2021 – Diana Aldescu
Well, hello everyone. Welcome back to your blog. Oh boy, this week we have a good one. We will be discussing fast fashion vs ethical and sustainable fashion. A lot of people already know why you should stay away from fast fashion. But if you’re still new at sustainability, keep reading. We will discuss what fast fashion is exactly and why you should shop ethically instead. Let’s get started!
What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion is a lot of things, but it for sure is cheap. It usually consists of trendy clothing taking inspo from catwalks and celebrity culture. You normally find these clothes in high street stores in high quantities to meet consumer demand. The garments contain low-quality materials to keep up with satisfactory prices. The idea is that clothes are popular for a short, temporary period of time. So, consumers have to grab these garments as fast as possible. If you want to stay relevant, you have to wear the latest pieces, right?
What is ethical and sustainable fashion?
To sum up, ethical and sustainable fashion is buying clothing without the cost of the planet and people. Ethical fashion is transparent about how your purchase affects the environment, workers and animals.
Ethical and sustainable fashion keeps an ecological balance by using natural materials. But, it also protects nature at the same time. Certifications such as PEFC and FSC make sure no wood is used from endangered forests. It also maintains the workers’ rights as ethical brands take the necessary measures to ensure their workers are well paid. Ethical fashion focuses on what is morally right in the fashion industry. Living wages and healthy working conditions! We are all about that stuff.
Why is fast fashion bad?
Well, it is important to understand that our ways as consumers have changed. Shopping for clothing used to be seen as an event. People would save up for some time and get their favourite pair of jeans. But of course, this changed. With clothing becoming more affordable and accessible, shopping has been seen more as a form of entertainment than an event. Trendy, cheap, knock-off garments, mass-produced at low cost took over. People got hyped on this as they felt as if they had the chance to wear the same styles that “walked the runway”.
Now let’s talk about the disadvantages of fast fashion. Although it makes a huge amount of people feel great, the impacts of fast fashion are not worth it. Most fast fashion consumers only wear the items they purchase once or twice. In some cases even never. This disposal mentality costs the planet. Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to pollution and waste due to the cheap materials and manufacturing methods it uses. Most fast fashion products are made from synthetic materials. These materials are not biodegradable and can’t be recycled. So, when they are thrown away, they end up in landfills for years and years.
Another big concern with fast fashion is its production. Most fast fashion companies work with manufacturers in developing countries. These are known to have bad working conditions, poor pay and even some abusive practices such as child labour. Normally regular checks are not mandatory so it is hard to say that employees have a good working environment.
Why you should buy ethical and sustainable fashion
There comes the saviour. There are plenty of reasons to shop for ethical and sustainable fashion. But here are our favourite reasons.
Overall, it is better for the environment. Fast fashion has a huge environmental footprint due to its mass production. Clothes made from cheap materials use a lot of energy and water in their production. As well, harsh chemicals are used in clothing production which causes pollution when released into the air and water.
Even clothes made from natural resources such as cotton that fast fashion companies use are not safe. Conventional cotton is grown using pesticides and insecticides which affect the soil.
Well, ethical fashion is better for the people! Ethical and sustainable fashion is more expensive, but that is because it doesn’t come with the cost of its workers. Ethical brands ensure their employees are treated fairly as regular checks take place. Of course, all employers are paid the living wage. No child labour, no excessive long hours and no unsafe working conditions!
Another reason why sustainable fashion is cooler is that it reduces waste. Sustainable fashion uses quality rather than quantity. Sustainable brands use natural resources or eco-friendly materials such as recycled materials. The materials used are biodegradable and have an as low impact as possible on the environment. Although it requires more money to produce with such materials, the end result is worth it.
Ok, you’ve been convinced but don’t know where to start? We got you! Well as a start, it is best to search for some cool sustainable and independent brands. Consider them next time you want to shop.
Some other practices you can try is to purchase items you really like and that can go with the rest of your clothes. You don’t want to buy a top only to realise you have nothing to style it with. This way it ends up in your wardrobe forever and never makes an appearance, what a shame! By using this practice, you are reducing waste and shopping consciously. Remember, less is best.
Another method, to begin with, is as simple as reusing. You bought a hoodie a long time ago and you’re not feeling it anymore? Don’t worry, there are tons of things to do with it. How about you turn it into a cropped hoodie or a cute vest? Trust your imagination.
Talking about imagination, how about you up-cycle your clothes? Your old clothes can become cloth to clean the house with. If you want to get very creative you can turn your old clothes into literally anything. A new cute blanket for your cat? Or a new decor for your room? Read more about up-cycling on our blog here.
Finally, it is best to try and save your clothes as much as possible. If it needs some repair, don’t throw it. Try to fix it yourself or if it is very severe take it to a professional. But, do not throw it away yet!
To switch from fast fashion to sustainable fashion takes some discipline and new habits, but it for sure is worth it!