Fast Fashion: Slow eater of the Environment

As Gandhi rightly said, “There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”

The drop in the garment price in the last 15–20 years has allowed us to buy more and more clothes. In the world of bloggers and influencers, fashion trends keep on changing with the speed of light, which in turn, leads us to purchase more clothes just to stay updated. We now have 5 times more clothes than our grandparents had. It felt great until we found out what was hiding behind this trend.

In reality, this continuous accumulation of cheap garments is only possible because of a constant reduction of production costs. This, in turn, has serious consequences on our health, our planet, and garment workers’ lives.

As garment quality is declining every year, our outfits look faded and worn out, which is a result has made it impossible to wear a garment more than five times.

Fact Check:

  1. 80 Billion garments are produced each year. We produce 400% more clothes than 20 years ago.
  2. On average, we only wear garments 7 times before getting rid of them.
  3. Most women wear only 20% to 30% of the clothes in their wardrobes.
  4. An average of 35kg of textile waste is generated per person each year in the US.

The quantity of chemicals and the colors used to produce these garments is massive. Chemicals are used in every part of the textile production for making fibers, bleaching and dyeing fabrics, etc. When they arrive in the shops, our clothes still contain a lot of chemicals, even clothes made of “100% natural” fiber. Our skin is our body’s largest organ and absorbs anything we put on it, including chemicals in our clothes. These can present a real danger to our health.

A Greenpeace study for the Detox Campaign has identified 11 chemicals frequently used to make our clothes that contain toxins, carcinogens, and hormone disruptors which should be banned, but currently aren’t.

Some studies show that certain chemical substances contained in pajamas can be found in a child’s urine 5 days after wearing those pajamas for one night.

Fact Check:

  1. 1KG of chemicals is used to produce 1kg of textile.
  2. 11 chemicals commonly used to make clothes are dangerous.
  3. 23% of all chemicals produced worldwide are used for the textile industry.

The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world after the oil industry. And the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows.

It is on us to decide whether we want this process to go on and slowly destroy ourselves and our surroundings just in the name of fashion or we want to change the trend and become more sustainable with our choices?

Attempt to reduce the fashion environmental impact:

  • Buy Less:

“The most environmentally sustainable jacket is the one that’s already in your closet.” – Lisa Williams

Even the greenest garment uses resources for production and transport to your home, creating some environmental impact. A root of the problem lies in our excessive consumerism.

  • Buy Sustainable:

Buy garments from the brand which use organic/natural fabrics, who do not use harmful chemicals while dyeing and printing the garment. There is a range of organic fabrics available in the market today, one of them is organic cotton. Organic cotton is rain fed and is grown without using harmful pesticides, which saves the excessive water used while growing regular cotton and prevents water pollution as well.

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  • Buy better quality:

Because clothes have become so cheap, we no longer care as much about quality. We just buy new garments when the ones we have lost their shape or appeal.

  • Think twice before throwing out used clothes:

Find alternative ways to dump your old clothes, try to repair them, donate them to those who need them, or put them up for recycling.

  • Wash your clothes thoughtfully:

Washing our clothes has a significant environmental impact. The average household does almost 400 loads of laundry every year, consuming about 60,000 liters of water. It also takes a lot of energy to heat the washing water and run the drying cycle. 



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