Every year, around 80 billion garments are produced worldwide. When we purchase an item of clothing we know little about who made it, how it was made and what the real cost is to the people who made them and to the environment.
Everyone of our wardrobes is tainted. Seduced by fast fashion and having some new to wear with bargain prices we have lost sight of the fact its production has brought working conditions to the developing world that were outlawed in Western countries a century ago.
Fashion should be fun – it should excite and inspire you. But definitely should not exploit the workers. Poor working conditions are not the only reasons for re-thinking how you shop. It’s manufacturing is draining the planet’s natural resources.
Cotton productions uses millions of gallons of water that is leaving vast areas of sea dried out. The toxic fumes created by the plastics used to produce many items is leaving whole villages uninhabitable.
We throw out tonnes of clothing that ends up in landfill when we get bored with wearing them. A survey for Oxfam and M&S found that one in 10 of us admitted to wearing just 10% of our wardrobe and estimated that there were 2.4 million garments hanging in our collective wardrobes.
We have a duty to future generations to think about what we are buying and really consider if we are purchasing out of need or desire.
If one million women bought their next item of clothing second-hand we would save six-million kg of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere.
In addition to the environmental impact we have to be aware of the conditions that many of the workforce of the fast fashion manufactures have to endure, the fact that they are not paid a fair wages and that many of them are of people of colour. Racism is a global problem and has allowed many industries especially the fast fashion industry to flourish – remember the collapse of the Dhaka garment factory in 2013 when 1100 workers lost their lives making cheap T shirts mainly for the white middle classes across the world.
The Slow Fashion Season is a global movement to encourage people to make more conscious choices when shopping, this year I am an Ambassador for the 2020 campaign to get 25,000 people across the globe to sign up to and pledge for 3 months from 21st June to 21st September to think before they buy their next fashion fix. When the movement started 3 years ago the pledge was not to buy any clothes at but now due to the worldwide pandemic so this year we are asking you to do the following.
- Trading, upcycle or DIY clothing or use what you already have in your wardrobe.
- Buying second-hand and vintage
- Supporting sustainable, local, small fashion labels who made be struggling due to the pandemic
The aim is collectively make an impact on the fast fashion industry and hit these companies where it hurts with our wallets – if we don’t buy they don’t profit.
If you want to make a difference you can sign up here – you will find lots of information and tips on how to make more conscious choices that will hopefully continue to do after the 3 months is up.