I already heard about the fair fashion movement years ago. However, I never really changed anything about my shopping habits, because I simply didn’t understand what’s wrong with the fashion industry.
I always thought that sweatshops are just normal and I couldn’t really do anything against it, because every company produces in them. Well, I was wrong. There is one simple thing I could do – stop supporting them.
If you’re still here asking yourself why I did that, here are 5 simple reasons I stopped buying fast fashion!
#1 You don’t have to spend more money
One thing I used to believe was that fair fashion has to be expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be. Second hand clothes (with a decent quality) often cost a lot less than their newly produced counterparts.
Depending on where you shop, you can get some cheap vintage pants, a nice designer blouse for a lot less than it’s regular price, or a jacket you’ll love. Second hand shopping will always cost you less than buying these items fresh off the factory.
Furthermore, newly bought fair fashion items are often produced to last longer. So in the long term, they will pay off.
#2 You won’t support terrible working conditions
One of my biggest issues with the fast fashion industry are the terrible working conditions in which the items are made. If you ever tried it, you might know that sewing a pair of pants or knitting a sweater is actually quite a lot of work. Well, we buy that piece of clothing for a damn low price.
I already saw t-shirts starting at 2€ and sweaters at 8€, I mean, do the companies even make money? Well, they do. They make a lot of money. The question is, how is that possible when you sell expensive goods, for super low prices? Someone has to come short. And someone does. The workers.
The product chain is long. You have the company and all of their staff, the place they produce, the workers and then right at the bottom the production of the textiles, quite a lot of people to pay, huh?
Workers in so called sweatshops are paid less than they’d need to survive and feed their families. (and yes many brands produce in them from H&M to Nike to exclusive brands).
There is a lot behind this whole process, which I might explain in another post, but right now I’d just advise you to watch “The true cost” and “Roger and Me”.
Not supporting fast fashion chains is the main way to stop it. No petitions, nothing else. As long as people buy fast fashion, others will be exploited. As long as there is a demand, no one will stop producing.
#3 The pieces you find are unique
Okay, let’s get back to a little happier point. Second hand clothes, as well as a lot of fair fashion pieces, are unique and often limited.
When you find something at a second hand shop they don’t have the same item about 2000 times among all of their locations, so it is more unique than buying fast fashion. A little plus: An item that can’t be re-bought within seconds, will also often be more valuable to you and make you happier.
Furthermore, you’ll definitely love each item more after searching for it for a while instead of just walking into a store and finding it hanging somewhere next to 50 duplicates.
#4 Your ecological footprint will decrease
Another disadvantage of a lot of newly produced clothes is that they leave a huge ecological footprint.
Firstly, clothing takes a lot of water to produce. A pair of jeans, for example takes about 3000 litres to make. Furthermore, producing a pair of clothing also generates a huge amount of CO2. And last but not least, a lot of thrown away or donated clothing ends up in landfills, where it releases toxins into the soil. So all in all, new clothes come with quite a big ecological footprint.
Buying a new item you’ll love and wear for longer, of course, is not that big of a problem, but most of the clothes in our wardrobe are statistically being worn two times an average before being thrown away. The reason for that is the ever-changing trends the fast fashion industry creates and the fact that (due to the low pricing) clothes have become a disposable product in our society.
Therefore, buying some used clothes that would otherwise end up as waste helps your ecological footprint while diminishing textile waste at the same time!
And if you feel like buying something new, or a particular piece, fair fashion is still a way to go. Many products still have a smaller footprint than fast fashion ones.
This is due to many factors, for example, the waste produced by the company, the use of organic materials, toxin-free production and the fact that most fair fashion brands charge a fair price and produce for longer use.
#5 Donated clothes can harm ecosystems
This point is rather complicated and you may not be aware of it. As you may know, you can not only throw away or sell your clothes after wearing them, but you can also donate them.
Sounds nice at first, you give them to someone in need, and you get some more space in your closet. However, since clothes did (as discussed before) become a disposable item, many other people are donating clothes, too and you can often see that the containers are overflowing.
Those donated clothes are then being sorted. Some are going to be sold in second hand shops – many are going to be sold in parts of Africa and some are thrown away and often end up in landfill.
The clothes sent to Africa are often being sold in stocks for such a cheap price, that the local market is overcrowded with second hand clothes. Therefore, many local manufacturers have to close their doors and sewers can’t establish their own companies due to a lack of demand.
This is, of course, not the case for every piece you donate. Many places like homeless shelters are often really thankful if you donate something. Just make sure not to buy too many pieces, solely because if you don’t want them someone might need them.
So, there you have it. Five reasons I stopped buying fast fashion and why I think you should, too. If you enjoyed this article, I also have one on 10 benefits of minimalism and owning less!
I tried to keep this article as simple and short as possible. So, if you have any other questions, or want me to explain something in an upcoming article, let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
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