As technology blossoms and it seems like anything is possible, we’re also seeing what the development of our modern world has cost us: our environment. Climate change has become a serious issue, and it is believed that we have just over a decade to undo irreparable damage.
Fast fashion, while convenient and kind on our bank accounts, is a major contributor to these problems. The frequent seasonal changes and weekly store updates means that fast fashion companies are running to keep up with the demand of consumers, and aren’t pausing to think about how they can make fashion more ethical and sustainable.
How Does Fast Fashion Harm the Environment?
Fashion is the largest contributor to pollution second only to oil and gas, which seriously puts things into perspective. The fashion industry produces 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, mainly due to the production of polyester found in 60% of clothing. In addition, it takes hundreds of gallons of water to make a single garment, which is a huge waste and often leaks toxic products into our natural waterways.
So what can we do? Buy used and/or vintage clothing. When you need something new save and buy something made of real, natural materials, and stay away from synthetic fabrics whenever possible. Here are 5 reasons why you should be buying vintage and used clothing, and thus saving the planet.
Reason to Buy Vintage #1: Stand Out
Who enjoys going into work or meeting up with friends, only to see three other people wearing the same thing as you? When you buy vintage you will likely be the only other person wearing that garment, and for some pieces you may even be the only person in the world who owns it.
Reason to Buy Vintage #2: Fast Fashion is (Almost Always) Bad Quality
Fast fashion, unlike new sustainable fashion or vintage pieces, are made from plastic fabrics, are thin, and are often made badly. We’ve grown into a “throw away” society that doesn’t value individual pieces, and instead choses to buy, wear until it breaks (often just a few wears) and throw into a landfill. Vintage fashion comes from an era in which many of these manufacturing practices were unknown, and more care was taken over clothes because they had to last. It’s lasted this long – it will continue to last for you.
Reason to Buy Vintage #3: Fast Fashion Isn’t Sustainable
Fast fashion is often made in Asia, which means it takes a lot of energy to transport to the US and other affluent countries, and as we mentioned earlier, it uses a huge amount of water to make even a single garment. Sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be expensive – more brands are opening their eyes to the damage they are causing, and so when you find these brands you can vote with your wallet by only buying new pieces from the
se lines, or better still – heading off to do some thrifting instead.
Reason to Buy Vintage #4: Thrifting is Fun!
When was the last time you went thrifting or shopping at a flea market? Don’t you love the thrill of the hunt? If you’re someone who loves a good bargain that same instinct and pleasure can easily transfer over to searching for the best pieces in thrift and vintage stores, both online and off. When you find a piece you love, you’ll feel even better for being the one to snag it since you’ve also done your part for the environment.
Reason to Buy Vintage #5: Help Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Currently, only 20% of fabrics are recycled; if more people cut down on buying clothing containing synthetic fabrics and buy used instead, they can seriously cut down their own emissions and that of the fashion industry as a whole.
Fast fashion often seems like the easiest and cheapest option, but it’s 2020 and it’s time to start thinking about the environment. Can you rework pieces to make them fashionable again? If not, but they are still wearable instead of throwing them out, donate them or resell them on apps like Depop and make some $$$. When you need a new piece, or just want to do some shopping, look for vintage stores like Wasteland, thrift, or buy used clothing online.