Solving the dangers of fast fashion

Leah Truitt, Reporter

According to BBC, every year approximately “92 million tonnes of textile waste is created” and a large majority of this waste comes from the fast fashion industry.

Fast fashion clothing is clothing that is often created to match certain trends; it is often inexpensive and cheaply made and is not designed with long or sustained use in mind.

The design process often overlooks how this affects the environment and often workers who design such garments are not paid an ethical or a living wage.

Many popular clothing brands, such as Shein and Forever 21, are a part of the fast fashion industry. The fast fashion industry contributes greatly to a number of environmental and social issues. According to a BBC article written in 2020, “around 85 percent of all textiles in the U.S. are either dumped into a landfill or burned.”

These numbers are beyond concerning for the state of our environment especially when so much of this textile waste is easily avoidable.

It is easy to walk into a store, see a cheap clothing item, and purchase it. Convenience is key in the case of fast fashion. It is just as easy to go through your closet and get rid of clothing to simply turn around and buy more.

However, one thing that many fail to realize is that when you get rid of clothing it has to go somewhere. Even when clothing is donated to a thrift store or a charity shop there is no guarantee that it will be used or sold. Often clothing that is sent to a thrift store still ends up going into a landfill regardless of the good intentions of the individual that donated it.

The best option is, of course, to avoid purchasing new clothing whenever possible. Shopping at thrift stores and charity shops provides a great opportunity to find clothing that is new to you. Sometimes you can find the most amazing vintage pieces and articles of clothing that you could never find in a department store.

However, sometimes it seems impossible to find everything used. At times it can be hard to find specific articles of clothing in your size. Not everyone has the time to dig through bins of clothing or to go to a thrift store in the first place.

The convenience of being able to order clothing online or walk into a store and find exactly what you are looking for is something many people prefer over shopping for used clothing. While the fast fashion industry is still going strong, smaller businesses have been popping up recently to make less of an impact on the environment and to give garment workers access to ethical and livable wages.

For example, Lucy and Yak, a small clothing business that originated in the U.K. in 2017, promises all of their workers a livable wage.

They pair up with small businesses around the world to source the material for their garments and work incredibly hard to make sure that all of their clothing is making as small of an impact as possible on the environment.

Another great clothing business that started fairly recently is Big Bud Press, a clothing brand that was created in Los Angeles in 2015. According to their website, “more than 98% of the fabric used is grown and made domestically”. They are sweatshop free as well and work to pay their workers an ethical wage.

While these businesses may charge more for their clothing, it must be understood that they created their clothing with sustainability in mind. The clothing is meant to last and the cost reflects that.

Regardless of where you choose to shop, please try to take responsibility for your clothing use. Clothing never just disappears and even if something is “cheap.”