Dear America: Fast fashion is not it

How could something that was only an occasional even turn into a matter of polluting the earth? 



What are you really saving?

Elvira Garamy, Editor

Dear America, fast fashion is not it anymore. 

I know it was everyone’s addiction at the start of the pandemic to pass the time, but we have neglected the true harm that it has caused our planet.

How could something that was only an occasional even turn into a matter of polluting the earth? 

You might be wondering what fast fashion is and why it causes so much harm. Fast fashion is cheap, trendy clothes that were copied from designer clothes to push out a new trend. You want the newest styles on the market fast so people can snatch them up quickly. With the ideology of not wanting to repeat fashion, people will be quick to spend money on new clothes so they are with the times.  Why spend $50 on a sweatshirt made of cotton when you can buy a cheaper, lower-quality $20 sweatshirt that will be there in 3 business days? 

Consumers are also spending more on their wardrobe in the post-pandemic world: Clothing retailers saw sales rise by 18.3% earlier this year. On average, people bought 60% more clothes in 2014 than they did in 2000. Now let’s get into the details of how bad this can be for the environment. 

People buying clothes at a rapid rate only to throw them out in a few weeks isn’t helping our environment at all. The material used in fast fashion contains microplastics, which are responsible for one-third of all of the microplastics in the ocean. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, fast fashion produces 20% of the global water waste. If that’s not churning your stomach yet, 85% of all of the fast-fashion clothing ends up in landfills every year.

Are your clothes in here? (Martin Bernetti/AFP via Getty Images)

This should be enough to want to end the consumption of fast fashion, right? Wrong. It is the most accessible and affordable way to shop for new clothes that don’t require you to leave the house. It’s a great way to pass the time, especially when you are at home in quarantine and cannot go to the malls yourself. 

America, look at what fast fashion is doing to your planet. Companies such as Shein, H&M, Zara, and others say they used recycled materials, but these materials are doing more harm than good. If you’ve seen the new Netflix movie Don’t Look Up, which I highly recommend watching after reading this article,  you’ll be able to understand that we only have one planet, and we need to take of it before it becomes too late. 

So what can we do to put an end to fast fashion?  Instead of partaking in the fast fashion industry, The Borgen Project curated a list of shopping alternatives that are better for the environment. You can shop at your local thrift stores instead of buying new clothes online, but be careful when thrifting. While it is a clean way to get new clothes, thrift stores are used for people who can’t afford new clothes for school or work or for those who can’t find their size in regular stores. Be kind when shopping there and be considerate of the environment around you. You can also buy, sell, and trade clothes online such as Depop or Mercari. Another great way to help the environment is to buy clothes from ethical and sustainable brands. 

The list goes on, but we need to act fast. What we do now will always affect the future, regardless of your political stance on climate change. We can’t leave this for the future generation to clean up like you thought you could decades ago. It is time to hold people accountable for their actions and make a change now. We don’t have much time left, and it’s only a matter of time before all of the damage we have done cannot be reversed.