You may not realize it, but you’ve probably dressed in fast fashion before. As the name implies, this type of clothing is designed to move from high-end runway shows and straight into stores in a matter of weeks. At the same time, it’s also about maintaining great prices for consumers. That doesn’t mean much when the clothes don’t last long.
This increase in the availability of clothes has led to an overwhelming amount of clothing being thrown away or ending up in landfills. It’s no wonder since today, the average American throws out 81 pounds of clothes each year. That is a lot of clothes! Luckily, there are ways you can fight fast fashion and incorporate sustainable practices into your wardrobe.
Read on to find ten ways to combat fast fashion!
What Is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion is producing clothing faster than ever before, with less quality and lower prices. This has had troubling effects on the environment, human rights, and our economy.
The Environmental Impact Of Fast Fashion
The environmental impact of fast fashion is vast. If you’re not sure what that means, take a look at the problem with water. Every year, a whopping 4 trillion gallons of water are wasted on producing textiles and clothes. That’s enough to fill 550 million Olympic-sized swimming pools!
Fast fashion also creates a lot of waste in general. For every ten items we buy from fast fashion brands, we only keep 3. That leaves seven pieces of clothing that will likely end up in a landfill or incinerator.
What else? Fast fashion factories use toxic chemicals to dye garments cheaply and quickly, which can have dire consequences for garment workers and the environment. And when clothes don’t last long, it forces people to constantly buy new clothes, which is terrible for their wallets and the planet.
So, what are some ways to fight fast fashion?
Here are 10 Ways to Fight Fast Fashion and Dress Sustainably
1. Buy Fewer Clothes
You can help reduce your environmental impact by buying less new clothing. There are tons of resources to help you recycle your old clothing. Plus, buying used clothes significantly reduces the demand for new textiles.
The best way to fight fast fashion is simply by not creating it. Reducing the amount of clothing you buy is one of the most effective ways to reduce your environmental impact. Instead of going out and buying a new wardrobe every season, stick with timeless pieces so they can be worn for more than one season. There are many great brands out there that sell high-quality pieces that can last for years.
2. Buy Quality
Another way to ensure you are not creating demand for fast fashion is by buying quality items made from sustainable materials that will last you a while. That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, either! The price tag on a clothing brand does not always indicate its value. Today, many expensive brands are made in the same factory as cheaper ones, but they’re just marketed differently. There are plenty of ways to look chic without spending that much money.
If you do purchase high-quality textiles, taking care of them will be even more critical than if you had purchased an inferior product. When shopping for clothing, find high-quality pieces made to last. Check for materials like hemp or organic cotton and natural dyes; these fabrics will be more durable than synthetics and won’t pollute the water when they’re washed.
3. Swap Clothes With Friends
Another way to fight fast fashion is by trading clothes with friends and family! This works especially great if you have a friend who has a similar style and taste in fashion but doesn’t know what to wear for an event. By swapping clothes before the big day, you’ll save money while also reducing textile waste at the same time.
When swapping clothes, make sure everything is clean and in good condition! If you don’t think your clothing will pass the swap test, then take the time to clean and mend it or try to find a use for the fabric in your home.
4. Support Sustainable Brands
One of the best ways to reduce the impact of fast fashion on our world is by supporting a sustainable brand that uses recycled materials.
There are tons of small companies that value sustainability and give back to their communities, whether through employment practices, fair wages, or by being fair trade certified.
These companies work hard to create quality products while keeping people employed and conserving valuable water, air, soil, and energy.
5. Buy From Thrift Stores
Buying from thrift stores helps the environment as well as your wallet
Another way to support sustainable fashion brands is by buying secondhand clothing! Many people think that if you want to be ethical, you should only purchase new things – but this isn’t always true.
Buying used clothing and refurbishing it can help reduce the demand for textiles while saving a ton of money! Support local shops near your home since they are likely to buy fewer clothes, so their inventory doesn’t turn over as often.
6. Shop At Ethical & Sustainable Clothing Brands
Many fast fashion brands prioritize profit margins instead of the well-being of their consumers and the environment. However, many brands also want to improve labor conditions for factory workers and use sustainable practices to benefit the planet.
Many other fast fashion companies have decided to take action against fast fashion because it is harmful to humans and our world. They can do this by lowering their carbon footprint using natural materials, recycling/composting facilities, organic cotton production, and more.
7. Shop Vintage
One of the most sustainable ways to shop is by purchasing vintage clothing! Vintage clothes are usually made of high-quality materials and will last a long time if they’re cared for properly.
Another benefit of buying vintage is that you get something no one else has, and it’s unique and one-of-a-kind. By doing this, you’ll be able to help keep textile waste out of landfills while also saving money since vintage items aren’t as expensive as brand-new ones.
8. Repair Clothes Instead Of Buying New Ones
This one should be pretty obvious, but we still have to remind ourselves; instead of buying new clothes, try repairing the ones you already own. If there is a hole in your shirt, don’t throw it away – mend it! You can do this at home by using a needle and thread. It might take some time but it will be worth it since you won’t have to buy another garment.
There are also clothing repair services in most cities that allow your clothes to be professionally fixed instead of mending them yourself.
9. Donate Your Clothes Instead Of Throwing Them Away
Another way to reduce textile waste is by placing the things you no longer wear or need into donation bins rather than trash cans.
By doing so, you are decreasing the number of clothes that will end up in landfills. Thinning out your wardrobe by removing unnecessary garments may also help motivate you to shop less and buy more sustainable items.
10. Print Sustainable Clothing Labels
This step isn’t exactly shopping for clothes, but it’s imperative in the fashion industry! By printing sustainable clothing labels, you can remind yourself or others around you that they should buy more eco-friendly products.
These labels can be used as sticky notes, which can be stuck onto any garment made with toxic chemicals. The color-changing ink on the label changes from white to pink when exposed to heat built up through friction, which means even if a garment has been sitting in someone’s closet for years, they can now notice whether or not it is eco-friendly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can Fast Fashion Become Sustainable?
One way is by recycling or reusing old clothing by making it into something new to overcome the enormous supply chain. Another way is if the fast fashion companies lower their carbon footprint, use organic cotton to reduce pesticide usage, and produce sustainable fabrics.
What Are Some Ways To Find Ethical, Sustainable, And Cruelty-Free Brands?
You can shop at second-hand, vintage, or thrift shops to find ethical goods. Another way is by signing up for email newsletters from eco-friendly brands or checking out their social media pages.
What Are Some Ways To Make My Clothes Sustainable?
One way is using organic, recycled cotton, which helps reduce pesticide usage. Another way is using sustainable fabrics like bamboo, hemp, recycled polyester, or GOTS-certified organic cotton. Also, by shopping at second-hand stores, you will find used clothing already made of eco-friendly materials.
What Are Some Ways To Reuse Clothes To Reduce Textile Waste?
Prioritize the things you wear the most in your closet, and do not buy new ones if necessary. Another way to reduce waste is to make rags out of old clothes or scarves to clean up spills instead of buying paper towels. You can also mend your clothes, sew them together, and turn them into something else!
What Can We Do To Support Sustainable Fashion?
One way is donating your used clothes so that fewer textiles will end up in landfills. Another way is to get a sustainable label that changes color from white to pink when rubbed with the hands so people can determine if a garment is eco-friendly.
We all love to shop. But is our love of shopping leading us down a dark path? Fast fashion can have severe consequences for our planet, society, and wallets, but there are ways to fight back, starting with what you buy. Buy clothes that are sustainable, fair-trade, or cruelty-free when you shop.
About the author
Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the apparel and fashion industry. Skilled in Product Development, Fabric Utilization, Trend Analysis, Technical Design, Sales, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and Retail. Strong entrepreneurship professional with Engineering focused automation.