We all love a good bargain, but our inclination for cheap clothing is harming the environment. Fast fashion is accountable for 20% of industrial water pollution, and textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally, using 1.3 trillion gallons of water each year. Our consumerism plays a large part in the size of theses numbers. Fast fashion goes through 50-100 microseasons per year, as opposed to the traditional two, Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. Having more seasons in the year forces companies to produce more clothing at a faster rate, resulting in overuse of water and cotton. Cotton accounts for 33% of all fibers found in textiles, but growing this crop is water intensive–one cotton shirt uses 2,700 L. If the industry continues to consume at its current rate, we will need three times as many natural resources by 2050. Additionally, many fast-fashion producers use plastic based materials, which when washed contribute to the problem of microplastic pollution.
To mitigate the industry’s impact, we can upcycle our clothes, shop secondhand and vintage, and buy staple pieces we know we’ll keep long after the current “microseason” ends. Stores like @buffaloexchange and Cross Roads offer customers a cash out or in store credit option to upcycle clothing. If dragging your unwanted clothes through the city isn’t your style, you can try @thredup, an online store which lets you send in your clothing and can give you either cash or an online credit based on what they accept. Any clothing that was not chosen to be resold will be recycled responsibly. If you want a bright and shiny new piece of clothing, brands like @reformation and @girlfriend use fabrics from recycled material to make unique, high quality products. Do you shop sustainably? Let us know in the comments below 👚👔👗