Updated: Feb 10
Fast fashion became increasingly popular at the turn of the 21st century, where companies took the new trends on the runway and began cheaply, mass-producing them. People, with the help of social media, see a style they love and want easy access to the instant gratification of buying it for cheap. Then in 6 months? It has a hole in it, it's out of style, and ends up in the garbage.
So what? Why do we care about clothes in our landfills?
Besides being an absolute waste of money, it can take these garments 200 years to completely biodegrade. Throughout that decomposition this cheaply, mass-produced clothing produces greenhouse methane gas and releases toxic chemicals and dyes which all make their way into our soil and groundwater (Yum!).
Here in Canada, the average person throws out 80 pounds of textiles every year, 80 POUNDS. When these items are thrown out, it is not only the garment itself that is wasted but the resources that went into creating it are wasted too. This fast fashion industry is actually creating more greenhouse gases than all international flights and maritime shipping combined and is a huge contributor to water wastage (about 20% of the total issue). It's quite shocking how much switching to vintage could benefit our Earth or at least finding other purposes for these fast fashion pieces instead of the garbage!
More than ever, these fast fashion items are made from nylon, polyester, acrylic, and other fibers which all breakdown into forms of plastic. Even when we wash these clothes, let alone throw them away, these micro plastics are leached into our environment, with each load releasing hundreds, up to thousands, of these plastic fibers. As the circle of life works, these make it to the ocean, to our water, the marine life eats it, we drink the water and eat the marine life, and once again the plastic is back with us but on the inside this time. Beautiful isn't it? That circle of life.
So, how can we afford slow fashion then and live a more sustainable life?
Be a sale hunter, watch for deals, and buy what you NEED not what you want. Slow fashion may be more expensive short-term, but it ends up being more expensive when you are buying 10 of the same t-shirts throughout the year because the last one stretched out or came apart in the wash. Even better, stop giving a sh*t about trends and be unqiue, buy your clothing (and housewares... and everything...) second hand, vintage, and pre-loved. You can find amazing items that are well made, don't break the bank, and create no additional impact on our environment! The vintage items that we curate for our Blue & Bairn collections are high quality items that won't end up in tatters next year. Shop smart, shop local, shop second-hand!