We communicate our personal style through what we wear. Our personal aesthetic includes clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup and hairstyle. We use fashion to express how we want to be perceived.
In recent times we have seen an increased awareness around sustainable fashion. Consumers are becoming more conscious about the way they shop and how their habits affect the environment. We are also seeing designers in the fashion industry embracing and incorporating new cutting-edge technologies – recycled, organic and bio degradable materials into their designs. The runways are filled with Avant Garde sustainable options which are filtering through into the high street.
It has been no secret that the fashion industry has had a negative impact on the environment. Fashion is the second largest polluter on this planet after oil. The fashion industry is launching ahead making changes towards more sustainable practices. We are seeing brands like Stella McCartney, Patagonia and Adidas paving the way for the future using waste products to develop new materials.
Each year globally we consume 80 million pieces of clothing. Three out of four of these garments ends up in landfill with only a quarter being recycled. Over consuming and unsustainable shopping habits has meant people were purchasing 60% more clothing per year then they did 15 years ago. We currently have four times more clothing in our wardrobes than what our parents did. Research shows, having more clothes in our wardrobe does not necessarily make us happier.
Living in a world where buying a t-shirt can cost the same as a coffee, it is so easy to make unnecessary regular garment purchases. This demand has led to the gateway “Fast Fashion”.
What is “Fast Fashion”?
“Fast fashion” is a term used to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores meeting the new and current trends. Fashion retailers creating 52 drops a year meaning we have access to cheaply made garments in store, each week, literally as it is coming off the international runways.
Globalisation became a huge part of the “Fast Fashion” industry. Globalisation aimed to be a win win for people in the Western world and in developing countries. The ideas were to create cheap mass-produced clothing in abundance off shore, whilst creating jobs and skills for people in developing countries. This intern would give them an opportunity to work their way out of poverty in return of cheap labour.
Unfortunately, the human side of our constant demand for “Fast Fashion” has been devastating. People working in factories work in horrendous hazardous conditions including long hours, lack of resources, exposure to harmful chemicals, and often physical, verbal and sexual abuse. The factory workers are underpaid, underfed, and pushed to their limits.
The cheap price of “Fast Fashion” has come at a human rights cost. This was NOT the intention of the fashion industry. The industry leaders are currently addressing this making every effort to rectify the situation and looking to the future positively and sustainably.
Immediate action is being taken to the stop the damage to our environment at the current rapid rate. The use of toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes, and synthetic fabrics which have been seeping into our water supplies, rivers and oceans causing major concerns.
We are being made aware, that post production, we are still polluting our waterways every time we wash our clothes. The tiny synthetic fibres making their way into our pipes, waterways, and eventually the ocean needs to stop.
We know one person can’t change the situation, but we also know making small conscious changes can.
We would like to share some tips and tricks on how to shop consciously and be more mindful making more sustainable fashion choices.
· Shop your own wardrobe. On average we only wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. Really use and love what you already have.
· Ask yourself when making a purchase “Do I really need this?” or “Will I ever wear this”. We encourage you to shop with a list. If it’s not on the list, then do your REALLY need it?
· Buy investment pieces that you really love. Buying once and buying well will give your garment a longer life span, therefore giving you a more sustainable purchase overall.
· Look at renting clothing for an event rather than making a one-off purchase on a garment you may only wear once.
· Give your old clothes a new lease on life by mending, repairing or up-cycling good quality clothing.
· Launder your clothing with care to extend the life cycle of your garments.
· Buy natural fibres.
· Swap clothing with your friends. Sharing clothing is a great way to breathe new life into your wardrobe.
· Buy second hand pieces. Buying preloved clothing, improves the sustainability of a garment. The second hand market is becoming one of the largest growing markets in the fashion industry and studies are showing that by 2022, the second hand market will be bigger than the luxury market.