If you’re not familiar with the term fast fashion, then here’s a hint: it’s about rapidly capturing and manufacturing catwalk clothing trends in order to get them in stores as quickly as possible. It’s about mass-producing cheap, fleeting styles to satisfy consumers’ perceived “need” for the tweed cape of the season or the moody floral of the month.
But at what cost? Fast fashion is notorious for more than just converting runway-to-retail trends to the tune of 80 billion garments each year—it’s also to blame for the 16 million tons of textile waste that end up in United States landfills. It’s a dangerous business that wreaks havoc on the environment, exploits field laborers, and endangers factory workers.
When fast-fashion retailers spit out trendy must-haves at lightning speed, the result is inexpensive, poorly made clothing that contributes to its seemingly disposable nature and perpetuates a churn-and-burn mentality. The fact that these clothes won’t last doesn’t seem to matter. Fast fashion wearers just need it to last until the next trend comes along.
Join me in saying sayonara to cheap designer replicas and toxic trends—here are three ways to quit fast fashion for good:
- Buy and wear used clothing.
It’s easy to turn your nose up at used clothing. But it’s just as easy (and much more cost efficient) to think, “if it was good enough for someone else at one time, it’s also good enough for me.” So thrift it up. Buy from your local neighborhood “swap” groups. Find that same coveted trend but in vintage form. It’ll be sure to outlast any fast fashion replica. Now wouldn’t that be 1000 percent cooler?
- If you do buy new, buy organic, Fair Trade–Certified clothing.
Sometimes we do just need something new. Whether it’s because our undies have developed holes over time or because we need to indulge in some retail therapy—trust me, I get it. Make it a point, though, to buy clothing that’s organic and Fair Trade Certified. You wouldn’t want conventional cotton—the world’s dirtiest crop—on your bod, or your babies’ bods, now would you?
- Don’t throw away your old clothes.
Pass them off to a friend who would appreciate them. Sell them to put a buck or two back in your pocket. But for the love of Mother Earth, do not throw away your old threads. Want to donate but not sure the best way to do it? Let Pact handle it. Pact partners with Give Back Box to repurpose and donate unwanted clothing. Simply print a prepaid shipping label at wearpact.com to send in your stuff.
Fast fashion has had its moment. It’s time for ethical fashion to interject. After all, wouldn’t you rather be timeless than trendy?
The Case for Organic Cotton
Fair Trade–Certified Factories and Clothing