beyond the outdoors

Fast Fashion vs. Slow Fashion

About a month ago, I stumbled upon a British documentary video titled The Price of Fashion. The video explained the differences between fast fashion vs. slow fashion and highlights the increasing issue in regard to fast fashion. Fast fashion is basically the method used by manufacturers to recreate runway fashion pieces. The problem with this is that retailers are able to quickly produce and distribute an excessive amount of runway fashion look-a-likes, because of their use of cheap materials and cheap labor. Retailers have known how to market their merchandise very well to consumers in such a way that today, individuals continue to buy an excessive and unnecessary amount of clothing. 

The case against Fast Fashion

Fast fashion has an overall negative effect on the environment for the following reasons:

1. Textile Waste

The U.S. alone produces 15+ million tons of used textile waste of which 10 million tons of that goes straight to the landfill. Those textiles made from synthetic materials will sit in landfills for more than a hundred years before they even start to decompose.

2. Water Pollution

Fashion brands are able to make their clothing in a variety of prints and vibrant colors through the use of textile dyeing. During the textile dyeing process, up to 15% of the dyes used end up in wastewater streams. According to Trusted Clothes, “Public perception of water quality is greatly influenced by the color. So, the removal of color from wastewater is often viewed as more important than the removal of soluble colorless organic substances.”

3. Toxic Chemicals

There are many chemicals used in the process of making clothes. These types of toxic chemicals used include pesticides in agriculture for growing cotton. Pesticides in combination with genetic modification is the method used by farmers in order to prevent crop failure. What’s scary is that many brands’ clothing has been tested and confirmed with traces of toxic chemicals even after arriving at the store ready for consumers to purchase.

Apart from having a negative effect on the environment, fast fashion has also been a cause for the increased exploitation of cheap labor in third-world countries. Therefore, I’m going to conclude that fast fashion is overall unethical. But what can we do to help change that?

We can support brands that abide by a more ethical philosophy for manufacturing their products. Brands who produce “slow fashion.” Slow fashion is the method in which manufacturers reduce their speed of production in an effort to appreciate the materials that are being used and prevent them from harming the environment or the people that work to make the clothing. Slow fashion is all about quality vs. quantity.

It’s clear that in order to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle we should make a conscious effort to buy less fast fashion clothing. Before buying any piece of clothing ask yourself, “Do I REALLY need this?” I admit that over the past years of my life, I had always been buying cheap clothing about once every month when I stepped foot in a store. Usually, I went in to “browse around” (that’s a lie I’m sure we all tell ourselves) and I would come out with something. Even if it was another pair of socks I totally didn’t need, but heck these had an avocado print on them and I sure love an avocado print!
But there you go, another year later has gone by and I had only worn the avocado-printed socks less than 5 times. This year I’m doing things a little differently. After donating more than half of my clothing to friends and various donation centers, I made a promise to myself not to buy a single piece of clothing at all this year and even asked friends and family not to give me any more clothes. As someone who loves buying new clothes, especially for my camping and backpacking trips, I’ve also made a decision to only purchase from ethical outdoor clothing brands as a way to commit to living a more eco-conscious lifestyle. 
If you’re currently on the market for new outdoor clothing check out Ethical Outdoor Clothing Brands for some eco-friendly options for your next shopping trip.
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