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A study conducted by Patatam, a sustainable French fashion brand, found that every fifth woman living in Great Britain feels guilty while buying new clothes and 64% of the respondents have claimed that they’re ready to buy second-hand items. It seems that second-hand stores have become more and more popular today. “Fast fashion” is a phenomenon that has had a great impact on this. There are tons of stores like Zara, H&M, and Topshop, where the clothes they sell are cheap, nice, and are meant to be worn for just one season. But are these clothes as good as manufacturers say they are?
Bright Side has found some good reasons to stop buying items from mass-market retailers. By the end of this article, you’ll find a few ways to make fashion more eco-friendly.
6. Because of fast fashion, the atmosphere suffers from emissions more than you can imagine.
In 2016, the footwear and textile industries produced 8% of the total harmful substance emissions. In 2015, international flights, together with maritime navigation, produced even less emissions than textile production.
5. Buying clothes from mass-market retailers that are made from fake fabrics is just as bad as throwing trash away in the street.
Fake fabrics consist of tiny plastic fibers that easily pass through the filters of washing machines and sewage treatments. Laundering one pound of polyester and acrylic, at 30˚C-40˚C, can release around 1 million and 700,000 microplastic particles, respectively. These toxic particles get inside marine animals bodies and become a link in the food chain.
4. Clothes from most mass-market retailers are highly dangerous for the planet.
17-20% of water gets polluted because of textile dyeing. Dyes contain sulfur, heavy metal compounds, formaldehydes, and so on. Interacting with washing detergents, they produce byproducts and cause allergy. Most mass-market fabrics aren’t biodegradable: it’ll take an item from 20 to 200 years to decompose. Of the 22.7 tons of clothes produced annually, only 1% of them are organic cotton. Growing cotton requires a huge amount of water: 715 gallons for one t-shirt and it requires between 5-50 gallons of pesticides for one hectare of field. By the way, cotton consumes more pesticides than other products: taking up 16% of the total annual pesticide use.
3. Because of the growth of fast fashion production, children from poor countries get deprived of a future.
Punjab is the largest consumer of pesticides in India, and this fact affects the ecological situation in the region. Soil, rivers, and the atmosphere are very polluted and they have an awful impact on the health of the surrounding populations. For example, children who live in this region have severe physical and mental disorders. There are also many oncology cases. The air quality in this region can be checked online and at the time of writing this article, the air was rated as “harmful,” which means that everyone in the region can feel its negative effect.
2. Clothing production may be dangerous for factory workers.
Fast fashion brands relocate their factories to poor countries where working conditions are really dangerous. For example, in 2013, the Rana Plaza building (that housed textile factories) collapsed in Bangladesh. More than 1,000 people died and 2,500 got serious injuries. A day before the tragedy, workers tried to direct their employers’ attention to cracks in the building, but they were still forced to go to work, otherwise they wouldn’t have been paid. In 2015, Andrew Morgan created a documentary titled The True Cost. During making the film, it shows how a young worker used to get paid $10 a month at the beginning of the 2000s and how union activists were subjected to physical violence from employers and colleagues. In 2018, the smallest salary in Bangladesh was $97.20 a month. By the way, the cost of living for a family consisting of 2 adults and 2 children was $214 a month.
1. You’re proud of yourself when you donate your clothes to charity, but in fact, you create serious problems for people living on the other side of the Earth.
It’s better than throwing an item away, but it leads to economic stagnation in developing countries. That’s what happened to Haiti: second-hand clothes are delivered there from the USA in big packs, and locals don’t even unwrap them, they just buy everything because of the low prices. Because of this, over the course of a few years in Haiti, the textile industry and small fashion businesses have almost disappeared: people didn’t need to produce and sell clothes. Seamstresses can’t support their families anymore, and the economy of the island depends on the USA.
Everyone can make a change with just a few steps. You can quit impulse buying and being in the habit of refreshing your wardrobe each season. Another option: you can go to second-hand stores from time to time and choose items made from organic materials. Finally, you can buy clothes from more expensive brands (remember that you’ll have to do it less often). Thus, you don’t pollute nature as bad and invest in your look. The video will show you some more ideas and reveal the life of a simple t-shirt that we all have in our wardrobe.
Do you like mass-market retailers or do you prefer conscious consumption? Why?
Preview photo credit pexels, pexels