Doomsday Clock has recently been advanced by 30 seconds. In laymen´s terms it´s two minutes before midnight – or two minutes before the world will face it’s annihilation. Reason is that in 2017 and 2018 politicians failed to respond to the environmental crisis and nucluear threats, according to the Bulletin of the Atomatic Scientists.
The question is, why do we have to wait for politicians to make a change when it’s in our hands to change the world? For many environmentalists, it is a first step to change own consumption and fashion is probably the easiest and a pretty effective way to adapt the new lifestyle. Fashion is also a big player in pollution. Fast Fashion is probably contributing the greatest part of pollution from the fashion industry. Here are some reasons why
1. it’s sooooooooo cheap.
Fast Fashion is cheap and this should concern you. Why? Because you should wonder, how a T-shirt for 1,99 regular price can earn the company any money, while still :
a) treating the environment right
b) treating their employees right
To still be profitable, companies that are selling their clothes for that prices obviously have to be loose on the part of responsibility for planet and people.
2. It’s trendy today and tomorrow out.
Another concept of Fast Fashion is to create fake demand. Essentially, people in western countries have more than enough clothes. We own way more pieces of clothing than a century ago. So the companies have made up a way to make you feel like you always need more.
They create many trends happening at the same time, so that you keep on buying to stay up to date. They also make these trends come and go very fast. Additionally they are changing their shop display on a weekly basis. All this jazz to make you buy. Their goal is to keep your demand high so they can keep their pockets getting bigger with your money.
3. It’s killing our environment.
The fashion industry became a big factor in polluting our world. While transportation and live stock are still the top 2 polluters, we have to consider that fashion is playing a role in both of them.
Firstly, with productions of fast fashion retailers mainly focussed in Asia, transportation costs for those goods have a huge impact on the environment just from that standing point.
Secondly, there are materials such as leather and fur that come from live stock, which adds to the number – even though in Fast fashion you won’t have much fur used.
However, the process of dyeing garments is highly toxic and influences our environment and people. If you’d like more information on that matter, I can recommend you to read the report of the pulse of the fashion industry.
4. It’s cluttering your life.
Trending on Netflix right now is a series by Marie Kondo, the amazing tidying expert from Japan. First thing you see pretty much in every episode is that people have to pile up all their clothes on one big clothes-mountain. It is shocking when you try it yourself. It made me sick to see how much clothes I own and yet I never have anything to wear. The overwhelming choice makes us indecisive. Fast fashion is all about selling you constantly on new items. You end up buying so much and in the end you have a wardrobe full of clothes and you can’t decide which to wear because it might already be out of fashion or there’s already a new trend to follow.
5. It ends up costing you more.
Think about sale. Sales are happening much more often I believe than from the time when I was a kid. In Germany, where I grew up, Sales were determined by law. A company could only put their goods on sale on exactly two dates in the year: Winter sales and Summer sales.
When I walk around the city or go online-shopping, I can see offers, vouchers and sales being on all year round.
What that does is that we tend to see reduced prices and we think that we are making a bargain – when in fact, these pieces were already calculated with that margin but that’s another additional topic I just wanted to touch upon.
The thing is, because the goods being so cheap, we buy more than what we need. This turns out to cost more if you think about the times you end up wearing it. Let’s say you buy 10 pieces for one Euro each, from which you each piece wear once. That’s 10 times wearing clothes. Instead you could have bought one piece for 10 Euro and wear it 20 times.
Of course it is not said, that more expensive results in better quality, but generally speaking a piece produced at such low cost is most likely to have poor quality.
6. It’s consuming our attention.
An every day occurring question the majority of us has in front of their wardrobes: What should I wear? And thanks to that we are in constant need of new clothes. Our minds are spending a significant amount of time per day, thinking about that. Imagine, what we could do with instead!
And this is really something that got me thinking, especially since I have a child, I really have to look and be careful what I spend my time with. There are great alternatives to that such as a capsule wardrobe, a minimalist lifestyle or just knowing your own style. All of which you will have to invest some more time in the beginning but will pay you back real quick.
7. It looks cheap.
When you are used to shop fast fashion, you might not even realise it anymore: the quality of the clothes, of the fabric used and the way it’s been stitched is very poor. I mean it’s kind of obvious that for as cheap as 4,95Euro for a T-Shirt one cannot expect to receive a high quality item. Hence we are used to consume bad quality for low prices. Most of us cannot distinguish a higher quality piece of clothing and what it is worth, which is why buying Fast Fashion is just very comfortable to do.
Maybe the following video can help you distinguish good from bad quality clothing:
8. Your clothes won’t last.
Most of the clothes we buy from fast fashion brands are most likely to never be worn out, simply because they won’t be used that often or for that long. The whole concept behind fast fashion is to make you swap your clothes for new ones on a regular basis as you know from the above points already. However, even washing some of the clothes for one time, may result that you won’t be wearing them anymore. For example, how many times have you washed a T-shirt from H&M and the side stitches got all messed up?
In terms of durability most fast fashion items won’t either have a timeless design that you can wear in five years from now or they won’t even have the quality to stay in shape for many years to come.
9. True costs of items.
When talking to my mom about how she lived when she was my age, I find it interesting that for example she had to take a credit to buy herself a new coat. She owned one skirt to wear for work, which she sewed herself and even today, she barely buys any clothes. She’s always been happy with fewer things and I admire that.
I think what my mom, and people without fast fashion know, is the feeling of what’s the right price to pay for clothes. When I go shopping with my mom, she is always feeling the fabric and can estimate very well whether it’s worth its’ money. This is due to the fact that she used to work in a chemical laundry for several years, she’s been sewing all her life and she used to work for fashion brands.
But regardless of the material used, I think we’ve lost sense of what an item should cost also in production and labor. We are not questioning whether the woman (or child) who sewed this item, got enough paid for their work. We are not wondering if the place the item was produced is according to our own standards in which we would want to work. And this is extremely hypocritical.
We are used to prices that are too good to be true, and well in fact they are! Somebody had to suffer when prices for a piece of clothing are as cheap as your coffee. Which is the second hypocritical thing about our consumption: we are willing to pay premium prices for products that will last us for half an hour and aren’t eager to spend more money on products that are supposed to last us several years.
We don’t have the right ratio anymore but we can get informed to understand what’s it worth. Therefore, when you see an ethical brand selling an item for five times the price than a fast fashion brand, ask yourself which one from the both is more likely to treat people and environment as a throw-away-product.
10. Your ROI is low.
Last but not least, the reason why you should seriously consider not buying your clothes from Fast Fashion retailers is the ROI. ROI is an acronym for Return on Investment.
Consider this: buying high quality products that will last you many years, will result in a higher ROI for you than buying cheap made fashion that will only last you one season. You are more likely to achieve a lower ROI with fast fashion items because their concept is to not last. Therefore, increase the ROI for your clothes by buying sustainable brands, buying second-hand, buying more basics, or simply keep on wearing what your wardrobe has to give you.
Overall, fast fashion brands know exactly their impact on our consumption and the environment, which is why they are greenwashing their brands with ‘recyclable’ clothing, shoes and jeans made out of ocean plastic or offering you to give your old clothes to them to recycle. Don’t be a part of that anymore. I can tell from my personal experience that it is not that hard to stop consuming fashion in this form. We don’t have a Planet B.
If you happen to know more reasons, I´d be glad to read them in the comment section below! Let me know about your consumption and how you improved your fashion behaviour.