I have been (by no means) perfect when it comes to hastily purchasing a cheap outfit for that Friday night out. Although, I have recently educated myself about the fashion industry and how it has some really shady practices. With the likes of big high-street players such as H&M and Zara offering insanely affordable fashion at our disposal, it is scary how these low prices seem to justify our blasé attitudes towards destroying the planet and damaging the lives of thousands around the globe.
I have unearthed a couple of grim, yet cogent facts about the negative impact of this industry; they exemplify why you should seriously reign in your fast-fashion purchasing habits.
You’re funding the retention of cheap human labour.
If you’re wondering how companies like Zara and H&M seem to churn out new items of clothing hebdomadally, it’s because these big high street brands subcontract manufacturing overseas to the lowest bidder – generally in countries that have the cheapest production costs on the planet. Rather than having long-term relationships with factories, companies are comfortable with abrupt cancellations. If their demand for new product production sky-rockets, these factories have to keep up or they lose their contracts. Inevitably, this governs the industry’s hotbed of cheap factory labour which exists in abysmal working environments. These conditions are crowded, unclean and temperatures are not controlled due to incurring charges.
You’re causing harm to yourself and the planet.
Textile dyeing is also the second largest polluter of clean water globally . Manufacturers create bright red, yellow and orange hues by using toxic chemicals to colour inexpensive fabrics which are usually made from oil-based polyester. Many of these hazardous chemicals are banned or at least strictly regulated in various countries as they are carcinogenic and disruptive to hormones.
When clothes made from polyester are domestically washed, they shed fibres that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans. These microfibres pass through sewage, into our waterways and because they do not biodegrade, they represent a threat to aquatic life. Small creatures such as plankton then eat the microfibres, which eventually make their way up the food chain to fish, which are then eaten by us.
And if you’re wondering ‘what’s in it for me?’:
Investing in a few high-quality pieces will not only make you look better, but it will also save you money in the long-haul.
When you invest in high-quality garms (preferably sustainably sourced), these will last longer – you won’t need to waste any £££ by replacing items in your wardrobe every other month. You’ll not only look more stylish and put together, but you’re also less likely to catch someone wearing the same outfit as you. If avoiding embarrassment isn’t a big motivation, then seriously…what else can I do to coax you all?
You can begin to be a (much) better person by buying pre-loved, doing your product research and getting to know some sustainable brands. Keep those eyes peeled for my next post, which will list my personal favourites to give you some ideas.