Sunday, 12 July 2020

Why is sustainability in fashion important?


The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. 

I talked in my capsule wardrobe update about reducing my use of fast fashion and limiting myself buying new clothes that I don't really need. The effects that the fashion industry has on the world is shocking, and we are encouraged to buy more and more clothing. I have been guilty of this too, thinking "I need a new dress for this event" despite have a wardrobe full of dresses I can wear. 

Since May I have stopped buying from fast fashion brands and during lockdown I have pretty much stopped purchasing clothes all together. I now put much more weight on shopping decisions before I make them, and I have decided to share the reasons why here. 

The environment


Huge amounts of clothing that people don’t want anymore ends up in landfill which is such a waste - there are so many items of clothing already existing on the planet but we are constantly creating more which is so unnecessary! 


Manufacturing clothing uses up the worlds resources, for example the amount of water that goes into creating materials like cotton really surprised me. The production process for a lot of clothing also uses chemicals (for example chemicals in clothing dyes) which often end up running into water sources and contaminating the water for residents that live nearby. The fashion industry amounts to 20% of the worlds industrial water pollution. Companies choose to manufacture clothing in countries without strict environmental regulations so they can get away with this. 


1.5 trillion litres of water is used by the fashion industry per year. 

750 million people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. 


Other things to consider are the effects of distribution of clothing, energy costs and pollution from manufacturing, synthetic materials (like polyester) release microfibres into the water when washed. 



Workers that make garments


Most clothing is made in countries with fewer or no rules on working conditions and health and safety rules. Businesses export the production of clothing to other countries where minimum wages are lower and working conditions are monitored less than in countries like the UK. If the standards of working conditions improve in one country, the business move to another country so they can maintain the use of cheap labour and often exploit the workers they employ. 


96 hours per week is a normal working week for a garment worker. 




Stopping fast fashion will save you money


Another benefit to being more sustainable and not buying from fast fashion is that you will save yourself lots of money. Cutting out fast fashion limits the clothing sources you can buy from, which didn't take me long to get used to - I find myself really asking whether or not I need something new and usually I can find something similar that I already own and just wear that again. 

When I do buy myself something new I really focus on quality over quantity, I try and buy clothes that will last me a long time and that are worth paying a little bit more for. You can also use the second-hand clothing industry which is huge - there are so many options and so many clothes are donated to charity shops, if you are willing to spend the time looking you can get some amazing, hardly worn clothes at a much lower cost. 

Another great aspect of shopping in vintage shops is that older clothes generally last longer. This sounds strange but clothes from fast fashion brands are made to be worn a few times before being discarded for something new and on-trend. The quality of these clothes generally seems to be poorer and less durable. This is why I definitely focus on quality over quantity, I want garments that I love and can keep wearing over and over without them falling apart! 



I wrote this post around a month ago, since then boohoo (a major fast fashion corporation) have been in the media a lot regarding a lot of these issues and I would urge anyone who feels they need more information to read about whats currently happening and think about the people behind the clothes we buy. 

Sources 

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23 comments

  1. Thank you for this post! I recently have become more aware of my purchases, and I never noticed how fast fashion clothes doesn't last much. It either stretches weird, rips easily, etc. It's weird how clothes I've bought at thrift stores second hand has lasted so much longer and they're been pre-loved. I think just finding some timeless pieces is so much better than having to buy cheap clothes to switch off with new trends.

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    1. Yeah its so interesting how clothes just aren't made to last anymore, since the trends change so quickly the materials just aren't as good. I totally agree my focus is finding well-made clothes that I will keep and love for a long time!

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  2. This is such an important post! I do not buy much new, preferring to buy second-hand. It seems a shame that so much time and money and cloth is wasted on garments that are worn once before ending up in a landfill.

    Whenever I see celebrities showing off the latest fashions, I get the chills . . .

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    1. I am exactly the same! I sued to be obsessed with buying new clothes but it is just so wasteful and I now love buying second hand and I have loved getting my sewing machine out to repair and edit clothing that I love so it fits perfectly and lasts longer! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  3. 96 hours a week?! People aren't joking when they liken factory conditions to slave labor. I don't have a capsule wardrobe, but am definitely much smarter in my clothing decisions since discovering the sustainability movement and hearing about the atrocities of fast fashion.

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    1. I know its crazy isn't it! Yeah I think you can still have lots of clothes but just looking at the sources and production of those clothes is important. I think a lot of people are becoming more aware and making better choices! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

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  4. These are all such important things to be aware of when it comes to shopping and the issues with fast fashion. I prefer to opt for quality pieces that are more environmentally friendly for basics like jeans and items I know I'm going to have for a long time. 96 hours a week is awful! x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. Yeah I totally agree with you, that figure shocked me too! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! x

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  5. There is no limit when it comes to fashion related stuff.
    Amazing snaps. Thank you

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  6. Thank you for this post - it is definitely very important to emphasise sustainability in today's society and it's great to know how and why to do it with fashion!

    🌿 Marissa Belle × marsybun.com 🌿

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    1. Thanks so much! Yeah I think people sort of have an idea that its bad but maybe aren't fully sure exactly why!

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  7. This is a really interesting read! Thank you for sharing, I'm really trying to focus on being more sustainable in terms of fashion, but I've still got a long way to go, shopping habits are proving quite difficult to break!

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    1. They definitely are hard to break, there are so many systems in place to get us to keep shopping and I definitely struggled to begin with. One tip I had was to unsubscribe from the mailing lists of fast fashion brands so if I wanted to shop I have to go out and look for offers, rather than having them sent to me! If we all do a little bit then it can make a massive impact, so every small change is great!

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  8. I have become super aware of this issue recently!Thank you for sharing this was a super interesting read!

    Amber - https://theunpredictedpage.com

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment!

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  9. Great post. I'm super guilty of just buying fast fashion but it's definitely something I'm working on.

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    1. Any small changes add up to make a big difference so thats great!

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  10. This is a really important post - I think fast fashion is great if you want cheap clothes, but when you really look into it, you might as well be throwing plastic into the ocean. Fashion is the second most polluting industry and it doesn't just affect the environment. Children are making clothes! I am not perfect, but am making a conscious effort to change

    Em | www.loveemblog.com

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    1. Yes I totally agree with you! It is so bad for the environment and the people making the clothes, thats great to hear! x

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