Fast fashion can be described as a business model that earns its profits by replicating fashion trends from the catwalk and mass-producing the articles of clothing at a low cost. This type of fashion appeals to many consumers because the items are often sold at affordable prices, providing instant gratification to its buyers.
Unfortunately, this side of the fashion industry is often a significant cause of pollution, unnecessary waste, and the promotion of inhumane work conditions. But if we, as consumers, can work together to learn how to fight fast fashion and live sustainably, our planet will begin to thrive in a healthier environment. Let’s explore some ways you can beat the effects of fast fashion and inspire others to do the same.
Support Ethical Businesses
Many ethical clothing companies are beginning to rise and promote their eco-friendlier products. These more environmentally conscious organizations provide an alternative way of shopping and acquiring clothing. Digital marketplaces such as Patagonia, Pact, and Kotn are making it possible for consumers to purchase fair trade–certified, sustainable clothing. When you support businesses that give back, you’re doing your part to help the planet.
Wear Clothes Until They Wear Out
A great way to live sustainably is to wear your clothes until you essentially can’t wear them anymore. That means taking extra care of your clothing and avoiding treating it as if you could replace it. Before washing your clothing items, be sure to read their labels to learn the recommended way to care for them so that they last longer.
Revamp When Necessary
You don’t have to purchase new clothes to change your style—simply take an old article of clothing and revamp it to make it fresh again. This is where you can get creative! You can follow many videos and tutorials to learn how to turn your old clothes into other articles of clothing to add to your closet. For example, you might consider altering a plain T-shirt into a cute crop top, or perhaps a boring sweater into a sleeveless athletic sweatshirt.
If you genuinely don’t see yourself wearing a piece of clothing anymore, there are many routes you can take to get rid of it in a sustainable way.
Host Clothing Swaps
Before taking your unwanted clothes to a thrift shop, ask your family members and friends if they’d like them. Swapping clothes with your loved ones can help you save money and open your eyes to new styles you might like. You can host a clothing swap party with your friends and make it fun.
Visit Local Thrift Stores
If you’re looking to buy something new to add to your closet, try visiting your local thrift store and shopping secondhand. Some people assume that secondhand clothing shops don’t sell “trendy” clothes—even though vintage is coming back into the spotlight! Moreover, sometimes other people donate their brand-new clothes, so you might find a piece of clothing with the price tag still attached—this happens more often than you think.
Consider Your Needs Versus Your Wants
Society is beginning to focus on mindfulness in the kitchen, at work, and during meditation, but what about shopping? When you’re out shopping, try to ask yourself if you really need an item. Being wary of impulse buys and separating your needs and wants can help you save money and shop more sustainably.
Some easy ways to fight fast fashion are to learn which materials are harmful to the environment and to watch for potential scams that may convince you to purchase quick fashion products via cheap marketing tactics.
Many of the clothing items in the fashion industry are created with synthetic fibers that are detrimental to the environment due to their harmful chemical makeup. Perhaps the best material to use in clothing is organic cotton; it’s light, breathable, and easily recyclable. Striving to purchase clothes that contain more eco-friendly fabric such as organic hemp and linen can help you in your efforts to live more sustainably.
Beware of “Greenwashing”
The term “greenwashing” refers to a marketing ploy used by goliaths in the retail, food, and fashion industries to trick consumers into thinking their products are eco-friendly when, in most cases, they’re not. There are many signs to look out for to avoid falling for misleading, unethical greenwashing practices. A few signs include:
- Using the words “low-impact,” “eco-friendly,” “recycled,” and more. Essentially, when a company goes out of their way to flash their “eco-friendly” products to you, they’re likely not being as honest as they should be.
- Brand changes. A telltale sign that a company is attempting to greenwash consumers is when they rebrand their logo, motto, or colors to reflect a more literally “green” approach.
- A company doesn’t have evidence to back up its claims. Some companies might simply say, “This product was recycled” without providing detailed information regarding the process and materials.
Often, we’re supporting unethical practices without even knowing it. Being aware of the items you purchase can give you an advantage and help you make more sustainable choices.
Purchase Fashion Staples
Following the latest trends of the fashion industry may be tempting, but you can still wear your fashion favorites by buying staples and pairing them with clothes you already have. This way, your clothes last longer and you follow a sustainable fashion lifestyle. For example, jeans, T-shirts, and cardigans have been in style for a long time, and they’ll most likely stay in the spotlight for years to come. Try getting the basics first before purchasing new clothing.
Pass It On
One of the most important ways to fight fast fashion and live sustainably is passing on what you’ve learned to the younger generation. Sustainable living is an important skill to pass on because it can help our planet grow and maintain its health. If you have children, for example, buy secondhand children’s clothes to help them appreciate eco-friendly efforts and take those efforts with them into adulthood. It can also teach them what donating means and how they can do their part to help others.
Fast fashion has essentially ruled society for many years, and many people now realize the effects it has had on our Earth. Now they’re fighting back by donating and secondhand shopping. Do your part and live a more sustainable life—starting with your closet.