Ten: The number of times the average garment is worn before disposal

Lucia Pisapiaon 2 October 2020
Ten: The number of times the average garment is worn before disposal

The environmental and social implications of fast fashion cannot be ignored much longer. A sustainable clothing retailer explores the alternative routes we can take to protect our planet.

As Oxfam’s #secondhandseptember draws to a close, it grows increasingly apparent to all those invested in the fight against fast fashion, that a month is just not long enough. Forget wardrobe revamps - it’s a global lifestyle revamp that’s in order.

In this fast-paced digital age, social media is a powerful tool that connects us, provides a platform for voices to be heard, and can offer a much-needed escape from reality. Whether through vlogs, reels or IGTV, we consume an incredible amount of content and can lose ourselves for hours in the digital rabbit hole.

However, there is a darker element to this shift towards a digital society; the longer we spend online, the more freedom we give to brands to influence our behaviour. Their tactic: create a culture in which we feel a compulsion to keep up and remain on-trend. Their goal: to make money, and lots of it. Combined with added pressure from influencers, lifestyle bloggers, and celebrities, it’s easy to see how fast fashion can become all-consuming. The reality is in the numbers: the global production of clothing has almost doubled in the last 15 years.

Fast fashion - or ‘Planned Obsolescence’, as it is formally known - is an economic strategy whereby products are designed to fall apart or become unfashionable quickly, pushing us to keep investing in new, trendier items. Outfits become disposable and, like rubbish, end up in landfill, exacerbating the environmental pressure our planet currently faces. Disturbingly, 17% of young people said that if they had been pictured in an outfit on Instagram, they would not wear it again.

The facts are there, but as it is the younger generation who stands to suffer the most, it is our responsibility to change how the world views fast fashion.

As Vivienne Westwood recommends, “Buy less, choose well, and make it last.” Try to shop second-hand whenever possible. Donate to charity shops or swap and sell unwanted clothes on Depop, eBay, or with friends - but don’t throw them away. Reclaim old items, repair things you love. It costs very little to get a zip replaced, a strap adjusted, or a hole sewn - you may even be able to do it yourself. 

It’s time to boycott the fast fashion industry and turn your attention to sustainable fashion. Do your homework: support small, ethically resourced businesses, and focus on the longevity of the items you’re thinking of purchasing. Feel better about the future, knowing that you are contributing towards positive change.

If you’re looking to get your clothes from a more ethical source, then be on the lookout for retailers like Rainbow Rhythms. Founded by two friends who were gutted to see their festival outfits go to waste during lockdown, they operate a sustainable model that fights fast fashion by selling and swapping pre-loved, colourful clothing.

“We are committed to making festival fashion ethical, by buying, repairing, swapping, and selling reclaimed garments at affordable prices. We offer a creative platform to inspire unique festival looks that are guaranteed to stand out. Add a little sparkle to your life (even in lockdown) and ensure you are dressed sustainably for festival season so that we can keep stomping on this earth for years to come!”

If you’re looking to add a bit of glitter to your wardrobe, be sure to check out their Instagram!

What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion? Join our panel today and let us know.

Lucia Pisapiaon 2 October 2020