Everyone knows those "shopping haul" videos on Instagram or TikTok and the resulting feeling and urge to buy and have the newest items. We often don't even think about whether we already have similar clothes in our wardrobe - no, we just go directly to the seller's page, put them in the shopping basket and buy. Without giving much thought to how long we will like this colour, cut or pattern, we simply go with the trend - and as quickly as the item arrives, it ends up in the waste again.
“In the USA, 10.5 million tons of clothing is sent to landfills every year, which is almost 30x heavier than the Empire State Building.”
In recent years the production of fashion has doubled worldwide - but the length of wear has halved. Clothing is increasingly becoming a disposable product that is harmful to the environment. It ends up in the rubbish far too often because of the large supply of cheap clothing. Trends used to change with the seasons but today new pieces appear on the shelves every two weeks. This phenomenon is called "fast fashion" and big fashion chains are successful with it.
“The world now consumes an estimated 80 billion pieces of new clothing per year – this is almost 400% more than what was consumed just 2 decades ago.”
What should you know about "fast fashion"?
"Fast fashion" means high resource consumption. Large amounts of petroleum are used for synthetic fibres and polyester. Cotton farming uses a lot of water, pesticides, and fertilisers. Dyeing fabrics releases toxic chemicals into the wastewater and thus into the environment. In addition there are the long transport routes of the global textile industry, which lead to CO2 emissions. Due to the poor quality of "fast fashion", clothes are no longer repaired but thrown away after a short time. For many consumers, price is still a decisive factor. Added to this are the inhumane working conditions under which employees in the "fast fashion" industry work.
Sustainable counterstrategies are: Slow fashion, upcycling, local and organic production and fair trade.
“Extending the life of a piece of clothing by just an extra 9 months through repairing, repurposing, or buying second hand, reduces that item’s carbon, waste and water footprint by 20-30%.”
What does “slow fashion” mean?
Slow fashion basically means sustainable and conscious fashion consumption. The garments are usually made from environmentally friendly materials or even recycled textiles. Clothes from the slow fashion industry are supposed to be durable and of high quality, at which attention is also paid to environmentally friendly production. The emphasis is placed on high-quality clothing that lasts a long time and does not lose its shape or colour after being washed a few times.
Buy slow fashion!
"Fast fashion" may score points with fashionable and cheap clothing, but this cannot be reconciled with the damage to the environment and the bad working conditions. To make fashion fairer and prevent climate change, people should increasingly shop in second-hand or slow fashion shops.
Buy less, choose well.