Fighting Fast Fashion – a modern day dilemma

Who would have thought that the clothes we wear – or not wear – would cause such harm and chaos to the very place we call ‘home’. Maybe you would have thought twice about that clothing you bought in the most recent sale if you knew the harm it would cause to the environment. 

The widely known term ‘fast fashion’ is used to describe the mass manufacturing of clothes. Most of the clothing items that fall under this category are cheaply made and cause more hassle than what their worth – literally. 

Have you ever turned up to an event and seen someone else wearing your exact outfit? That’s fast fashion in a nutshell. This issue hasn’t just came about over the last few years. It originated in the mid 2000’s when your Britney Spears wannabes wanted to look exactly like the ‘pop stars’. 

The fashion industry is worth $2.5 trillion and is the second most polluting industry on Earth. Why is this you may ask? How can clothes be this damaging? Well, that bag of clothes you threw out to ‘clear your wardrobe’ went straight to a landfill site, along with plenty other garments. 

Majority of our clothes are made using cheap and toxic dyes, which in return helps big corporations make a massive profit. Pair this with the amount of money these companies pay their workers and they’re practically rubbing their hands together. 

ACS Clothing, a fulfilment centre for rental fashion companies, aims to extend the life of garments by “providing companies with a tailor made, back-end solution to enhance their business”.

Marketing Manager, Danielle Moran said: “Fast-fashion is going out of fashion, and I think this is a necessary market shift as consumers become far more environmentally conscious than ever before. That being said, I think that there is still a large percentage of consumers that are unaware of the impact that fashion has on the environment. 

The statistics are quite shocking. To name a few; 1 truckload of clothing ends up in landfill every second; The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global emissions; and approximately 50% of clothing that is returned does not go on to be re-sold – the majority ends up in landfill. 

One of the most recent ‘scandals’ within the fashion industry was back in November on Black Friday. A company known as PrettyLittleThing ran a 99% off sale on all of its items. All items were under £1 and customers were buying the same item 3 times…just because they could. One persons basket had 56 items in it, which came to just £28. 

There are many ways we as a society can combat this toxic industry. Charity shops, renting clothes, buying second-hand or supporting companies that have recyclable clothes. 

So many people will buy a dress, suit etc for a special event and never wear it again. But little do they know, that they can rent that very same outfit for a fraction of the price and not have it take up more wardrobe space. 

Hirestreet is the UK’s leading rental company. Head of Operations, Emily Ling said: “I can understand why people choose to shop with fast fashion brands, as you are getting stylish clothes for a low cost. That’s why Hirestreet is such a good alternative, because we offer premium brands at an affordable price. It allows people to make an easy switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. 

“We have such a ‘wear it once’ attitude for occasion wear, especially for millennials and Gen Z. Rental is such a good way to combat the environmental impact of wearing something once. It increases the lifecycle for that garment and means it doesn’t sit in someone’s wardrobe having only been worn once.”

Online shopping has become second nature to most as it’s a quick and easy way to pay for clothes, and this may be the reason why some members of society don’t want to rent clothes as they assume it’s a longer process. 

Emily Ling continued: “Renting is very similar to a standard e-commerce shop, the only difference is you are able to return your items. We put a prepaid returns label in all our orders, so customers can return their rental to the post office hassle free.”

There really is no excuse to continue filling the pockets of these giant companies when we can source our clothes from more environmentally friendly businesses and high street charity shops. Society needs to realise that fast fashion is not a trend or bandwagon that you can jump on temporarily until the next sale.

Journalist and Author, Lucy Siegle once said: “Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere is paying.” We should keep this in mind before we decide to click “complete order” next time we are faced with buying a new outfit. 

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