When I think of pollution and global warming, I think about things like petrol and exhaust fumes, recycling and the amount of plastic we produce or I picture a huge factory blowing off harmful gases.
I do not picture the lovely clothes hanging in my wardrobe. Or at least I didn’t until I watched an eye-opener of a documentary late last year.
I’m sure some of you have either watched it or heard of it, but Stacey Dooley’s Fast Fashion documentary on BBC3 was shocking to say the least. I have always been a huge fan of Stacey’s documentary and her deliverance, but this topic struck a particular chord with me.
Who knew that the fashion industry was one of the biggest contributors to pollution and global warming? I know I’m not the only one that had no idea.
I’ll not go into too much detail, because you’ll be able to catch up on BBC iPlayer, but she travels around the world and shows us the devastating impact fast fashion is having on our planet.
So what is ‘Fast Fashion?’
According to Wikipedia, it’s defined as: ‘Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. Fast fashion clothing collections are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and the autumn of every year.’
It might sound hypocritical, coming from a fashion blogger, to discuss how harmful fast fashion can be but her me out.
I really don’t agree with fashion bloggers being branded as walking talking catalogue. And if you’re a fashion blogger that is constantly posting about new clothes and encouraging people to constantly buy, buy and buy, I disagree with your tactics.
To me fashion blogging is about inspiring people to make savvy purchases and make the most of what you’ve already got in your wardrobe. Buying new clothes every week and never wearing anything twice is completely irresponsible and not sustainable. And if you’re following someone who makes you think, ‘How can they afford all that, I need to buy new clothes all the time too if I want to be like them…’ – unfollow them now! Because that ain’t healthy!
And on that note, why are we always so afraid to wear something a second time?
It’s insane how much my mindset has changed since I watched this documentary.
Have I stopped buying clothes? No. But I have become much more sensible, and I can’t remember the last time I went into Primark and just bought something for the sake of it.
Because I don’t need to, and the damage that this ‘buying for the sake of it’ mentality has is frightening. If you don’t believe me, or are wondering what the heck I’m going on about, here are some statistics around Fast Fashion.
- We now buy 400% more clothes now than we did 20 years ago.
- We now consume more than 80 BILLION pieces of clothing each year.
- over 3/4’s of our unwanted clothes are dumped in landfill or incinerated.
- The clothes usually have synthetic fibres in them, which are pollutants, so they cause environmental havoc.
- Charities successfully sell only 10-20% of our clothes and then the remainder is sometimes shipped as textile waste to foreign countries.
- A recent survey showed that UK shoppers own £10 BILLION worth of clothes they do not wear.
- Textile dying is the second largest polluter of clean water globally, after agriculture.
- It takes about 2,720 litres of water to produce just one cotton shirt – a number equivalent to what an average person drinks over three years. (EJF)
- It takes about 10,000 litres of water to produce enough cotton for a pair of jeans.
- Each year 1.3 trillion gallons of water is used for fabric dyeing alone.
- Nearly three-fifths or 60% of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made.
- The total level of fashion waste is expected to be 148 million tons by 2030—equivalent to annual waste of 17.5 kg per capita across the planet.
- Making one kilogram of fabric generates an average of 23 kilograms of greenhouse gases.
- More than 50% of the emissions from clothing production comes from three phases: dyeing and finishing (36%), yarn preparation (28%) and fibre production (15%).
- Approximately 300 million people who produce cotton are still living in poverty.
- Over 50% of workers within the fashion industry are not paid the minimum wage in countries like India and the Philippines.
- In Australia, some garment workers earn as little as $7 an hour and, in some cases, as little as $4 well which is below the minimum wage of $17.49 per hour.
Before Christmas I put up a few Insta Stories about the topic and I was surprised at how many people interacted with it and gave their opinion. It was the highest engagement I ever had on Insta Stories, so obviously it’s something you are all interested in too.
Here are some snippets of the feedback I got when I asked did people understand the concept of Fast Fashion and what were their thoughts on it?
“I’m a big believer in buying nice things that will last for a long time, instead of buying cheaper things again and again.”
“I’m trying to buy better quality items that I’ll wear again.”
“I buy way less clothes now than I used to after learning about fast fashion.”
“What exactly is it?”
“I’d rather give them to charity or 3rd world countries than just throw my clothes out.”
And here are the answers some answers to the questions I asked…
Do you understand Fast Fashion?
64% a wee bit
36% yep, fully
Is it something that you care/think about when you’re buying clothes?
Do you care how you’re clothes are made?
Not really 67%
Would you think differently about buying so many clothes, only wearing them once and then throwing them out, if you knew it was making an impact on the world?
Defs – 76%
Nah, not really – 24%
Maybe it’s not something you care about, and that’s totally fine – I am not here to preach. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on it all and whether or not it’s something you care about.
I’m not saying I’m never going to shop again in my life, but in 2019 I’m making much more sustainable shopping choices and am cutting down on the unnecessary spending.
As always, thanks for reading!