Go on Instagram, TikTok or any social media platform and you will be bombarded with fast fashion. People promoting it, wearing it and selling it. Fast fashion is a massive industry with an estimated value projected to reach $40 billion USD by 2025.
People purchase fast fashion for a variety of reasons. The demand for trendy clothing is a major factor in the production of fast fashion. Sites like Shein and Aliexpress update their sites with hundreds of new clothing items daily. The problem with this, is that these trendy pieces go out of style within a year or less. The annual value of clothing discarded prematurely is more than $400 billion worldwide.
One of the biggest reasons for these short-lived trends is the rise of social media and influencers. It has caused an increase in trends and a decrease in their lifespan. These trends come with many negative effects including overconsumption of clothing and waste. Other downsides of fast fashion include – unethical working conditions, use of child labour, and the overall damage it has on the environment.
The fashion industry is the second biggest contributor to pollution in the world and has had devastating consequences to our earth. One cotton t-shirt takes 2,700 liters of water to produce. Non-renewable synthetic polymers are also a problem. They are used to prolong the longevity of clothing, however the production of this type of material results in the release of gases that are 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide (in the case of nylon). If not reused or recylced, plastic clothing can take 20-200 years to decompose.
Here are 5 ways that can help you to quit fast fashion:
- Educate yourself on fast fashion: Giving up fast fashion becomes much easier once you’ve found out the devastating consequences it has on the environment and people across the globe. Many films, books and documentaries have been created over the last few years, each revealing the deadly secrets of the clothing industry, so it has never been easier to educate yourself on this topic.
- Understand that fast fashion is NOT cheaper: Just because it may be cheaper in the short term, does not mean it’s cheaper in the long run. Fast fashion is produced cheaply, therefore many of these types of clothing fall apart quickly and lose their shape and quality fast. While sustainable and slow-made fashion is produced with higher-end materials and made to last for years.
- Shop secondhand: Another great way to quit fast fashion is to shop secondhand. Whether you choose to shop in little vintage boutiques or huge second-hand markets, buying pre-worn clothes will satisfy your shopping cravings without harming the environment. This can be a great way to find unique pieces of clothing that cost a fraction of the price of clothing that is made new.
- Choose slow fashion brands: You don't have to fully suppress your fashion desires when learning how to quit fast fashion. Embracing slow and sustainable fashion brands is a great way to buy fashionable clothing, while still making environmentally conscious choices. With so many great brands offering clothing that is sustainably made, you won’t run out of choices for your next investment in fashion!
- Focus on quality over quantity: Buy well made and buy less. This is the motto we use at this is willow, as buying quality garments can help to guarantee that they last longer, feel better, and look better. Buying less is ultimately the best way to help quit fast fashion and purchasing less clothing overall is important to reduce the amount of textile waste and environmental impact that fashion has on our earth.