Sustainable Fashion is Not Just the Latest Trend
Surprising ways that your choices contribute to the deterioration of our planet and encourage unethical practices.
Every day in the United States, people throw away enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. More than 15 million tons of textile waste is produced and placed in landfills each year in the United States alone. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2018) The fashion industry is the second largest industry contributing to the destruction of the environment following closely behind the oil industry.
Fast fashion is one of the world’s primary polluters, which has led to a massive movement and interest in creating sustainable apparel and footwear. Producing clothing and footwear has been taking a toll on our environment for decades and finding a way to reverse the effects is a global concern. The task of making quality and fashionable products without further harming the environment, while still propelling the fashion industry has become a challenge.
Especially as college students, we are compelled to purchase the newest on-trend pieces at the lowest prices, so we look to online stores such as Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing, and Forever 21. These companies are banking off of our low-income budgets and are producing these clothes that will not last for our instant gratification. We have to understand that this is not a sustainable lifestyle, and we cannot go on purchasing clothing so quickly without thinking about the process involved and the resources it takes to make these garments.
Little steps to properly carefor your clothes includes following labels to make sure they last (e.g. using cold water when we wash our clothes) and trying to hang dry as many garments as we can. When purchasing new clothes, I think that people should utilize second-hand shopping. Whether it is online or retail stores such as Goodwill, by giving clothes a second life, we can still be happy with a new piece for our closet while also being mindful of the planet. If you are looking for a specific garment and are unsuccessful with this method of shopping, then I think it is essential to be aware of the stores you purchase your clothes from and do research before buying. It is necessary to know how the companies manufacture their clothes, where they do so, and what fibers are used. As consumers, we need to think about our purchasing decisions and if we need these items or if they are to give us joy for a short moment. Clothing is essential, but we cannot destroy the place we call home.