Water pollution, toxic chemical use and textile waste: fast fashion comes at a huge cost to the environment. Here is one example. Most popular fabric used for fashion is Polyester. When polyester garments are washed in washing machines, they shed microfibers which then can easily pass through sewage and wastewater treatment plants into our waterways. Because they do not biodegrade, they represent a serious threat to aquatic life. Small creatures such as plankton eat the microfibers, which then make their way up the food chain to fish and shellfish eaten by humans.
We have to promote sustainable ways, we just do. How we produce and consume clothing, shoes, accessories and other textiles is important. All major clothing companies in Sweden today have a work in progress in the area of sustainability, in the production phase and at the user level to encourage increased reuse and recycling.
Changing the production, distribution and marketing practices and strategies towards greater sustainability is one thing, but creating a sustainable consumption patterns is a whole other story. Fashion companies as The RealReal provide fashion as second hand, H&M have set up collection and recycling systems that supports increased textile recycling. Some companies have created a rental systems for leasing clothes and accessories, others focus mainly on creating fashion that is of high quality and timeless design, long-lasting style and durable.
Next time you look in your closet and think you have nothing to wear, spare a thought for the impact of fast fashion on the environment. And before you head out into the December sales for those irresistible deals follow these simple rules:
- Invest in Quality Clothes
- Repair. Reuse. Recycle.
Encouraging more sustainable production and consumption patterns is the path towards better future and as it grows and evolves, dressing yourself with thought will hopefully only get easier with time.