Some statistics: Fast fashion is the reason large retailers are able to mass-produce the newest trends as quickly as possible for a cheap price. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world, topped only by the oil industry, and also contributes to 5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Has our desire for new, trendy and affordable items finally gone too far?
Where we choose to shop is based on product selection, price and quality. But how often do we make buying decisions based on a company’s approach to sustainability and ethics? Online searches for “sustainable fashion” tripled between 2016 – 2019, showing that there is a new era of savvy shoppers eager to know more about a brand’s ethics than just relying on a flashy logo and window displays.
THE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECT
The rise of social media and social media influencers has created a dangerous pattern: buy it, post it, bin it. The incessant need to be on the trend and have a new wardrobe each season is fuelled by large companies, high-budget campaigns, plus our social media feeds. But fashion is simply a cycle of repetition. The styles of 10 or 15 years ago suddenly come back, and this will continue to happen again and again. Rather than buying an item because of a trend, create a capsule wardrobe: a collection of essential items that will never go out of style and can be paired together no matter the season.
As fast fashion developed, affordable textiles became accessible to a wide array of retailers. If you look at a handful of your clothes, roughly 85% will be made from polyester, nylon or cotton. While these textiles may be cheap, they have a detrimental impact on the environment. Polyester takes roughly 200 years to fully decompose while nylon releases microplastics into the soil as it decomposes, inevitably polluting the surrounding areas. To be able to create a vast amount of styles and colours, large amounts of water are needed for manufacturing in order to meet this demand. For example, it takes 2700 litres of water to produce a simple cotton t-shirt!
The rise in textile waste ending up in landfill is due to over production from retailers and people throwing away clothing they no longer want. Luckily, there are easy ways to reduce the large-scale damage that has been done and it’s simpler than you think!
“Globally 20% of textiles are recycled, meaning the other 80% are lost to landfill or incineration.” – Alden Wicker, Fashion Revolution.
As party season approaches, the search for new clothing as well as gift ideas will ensue. Luxembourg has a wonderful selection of second-hand shops, a great way to discover a few gems that would make a perfect gift or addition to your home. The shops are beautifully warm, cosy and welcoming, plus there is the occasional coffee shop tucked way nearby when you are in need of a mid-shopping pick-me-up.
Alternatively, choosing to rent or hire dresses & gowns is becoming more and more popular, as it is a fantastic way to not only save money but also save space in your wardrobe. Dress rental services enable you to choose a handful of dresses and select the one you love! Upon returning, they typically take care of the washing for you so all you have to do is look stunning.
Buying second-hand is a chance to reignite a love for style & design unique to you, as opposed to copying what you see on social media. Owning something that has already been produced prevents a new item from having to be manufactured and put into circulation. It may be seen as a simple, small change but it can create an enormous impact that we will be thankful for down the line.