What Type of Environmental Impact Does Fast Fashion Have?
Fast Fashion is Officially on the Hot Seat
By Beth Hoad
Fast fashion equals rapid production, affordable pricing and on-trend looks. So, what’s the catch? Is it just poorly made clothing, or is it the negative impact fast fashion has on the environment?
Fast fashion’s stylish pieces have a hidden cost. Water pollution, the depletion of nonrenewable resources and greenhouse gas emissions are all leading environmental effects tied to making the fast fashion industry the second largest polluter in the world. And how does your purchase directly impact these results?
Fast fashion’s clothing production has almost doubled in the last two decades, with certain brands producing 52 micro-collections per year. This unusually fast paced, excessive manufacturing practice means corners are cut, and brands are selling extremely low-quality materials. To reduce costs further, brands turn to toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes, and synthetic fabrics to craft clothes, which contributes immensely to greenhouse pollutions. Even worse, the fibers and materials brands often choose to use are not biodegradable. This is alarming, since these garments could sit in landfills for hundreds of years, constantly releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere. Which would you prefer, responsibly made clothing or cheaply priced clothing that leads to high carbon dioxide levels that then contribute to global warming?
Fast fashion accounts for 10% of all carbon emissions in the world, due to the sheer size, energy, and disposal practices, and it’s also estimated to use about 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. Washing processes and textile dyeing contributes hugely to the worlds water pollution, with runoff and often untreated wastewater being dumped into freshwater streams, waterways and rivers. Not only is this detrimental to the ecosystems, but it’s harmful to the people who use this water to drink, fish and live by.
I wish we could change fast fashion’s ecological footprint overnight, but it’s just not feasible. However, together we can make small changes to help the environment through our buying and at-home practices.
Consider “quality over quantity”, look at pieces with longevity in mind in order to eliminate irresponsible consumption. Research sustainable brands like “Everybody.World” who create gender neutral basics that are made with recycled materials and are biodegradable. Donate what you no longer use; reuse, recycle and upcycle clothes to stay current with trends and reduce disposal process. Personally, I look at different washing practices I can do at home to make my clothes last longer, such as using non-abrasive detergents and hanging my clothes out to dry. Remember, just trying is making a difference.
D.O.B is committed to eliminating wasteful clothing practices. We believe that small changes and actions everyday add up collectively to a big impact! We will introduce you to cool brands that are equally committed to making a difference.