Fast Fashion: Making planet Earth it’s biggest fashion victim

Tomas Brennan raises awareness to the impact of fashion in the environment 

In a time where it’s never been easier to buy clothes, with trends and fashions changing more rapidly than ever, it is not hard to imagine the impact this would have on the environment. 

Fast fashion is the term used to express the idea that designs move from the manufacturing company, to the catwalk, and then onto the highstreets and online retailers all at a high speed, with low costs. A major example of fast fashion is H&M, it’s reported stating that their clothing lines can go from the sketch board to stores in as little as three weeks. 

It is not only H&M that are pushing clothes out into the shops at a fast rate. Because of this, market prices are competitively low, with many companies such as Primark and ASOS having a range of clothes for just under £5. Just think about that, when you are surrounded by an endless conveyor belt of new and trendy clothing at a price cheaper than a cup of coffee, it’s hard to be surprised at the fact that the world collectively consumes more than 80 billion items of clothing each year, with each item becoming seen as increasingly disposable.

Unfortunately, despite its labelling of cheap prices, all of this comes at a much bigger cost. In a time where clothes are worn once and then thrown into the deepest pits of one’s wardrobe, never to be found again, people are buying double the amount of clothes compared to a decade ago. In 2015 the global fashion industry used 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions, this was more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. It’s no wonder fashion is considered to be one of the most polluting industries in the world, and a major source for the overheating of our planet.

The use of fast fashion only accelerates this problem, when that £4 top you bought in November no longer fits your mince pie filled body what other choice do you have but to throw it away? It was only £4 right? But where does the top go? It joins the other 235 million items of clothing that were sent to landfills last year. Items that may have only been worn a handful of times slowly decomposing, while releasing methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. 

The image of tonnes of clothes just festering away on a landfill somewhere, is unsettling. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many different ways in which we can make our clothes last longer and still look good. Not only are there stores that allow you to rent clothes for a low price but you can manage your budget by shopping on the low, charity shops are a brilliant option that can help in so many ways. A charity shop can offer a medley of fashion items for a cheap price and for a noble cause. 

As final thought, the way we view fashion needs to change. We need to stop with this constant need for the newest and latest and try to really focus on being content with what we have (Henry the VIII kept changing wives and it isn’t exactly something that he was praised for). Being creative with the clothes you already have will have a much more positive outcome for both yourself and the planet.

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