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What’s up with Fast Fashion?

"We can’t just consume our way to a more sustainable world." - Jennifer Nini

Low-cost, trendy apparel that moves quickly from design to retail stores to help us keep up with trends and introduce new collections regularly is a gift in this fast-paced world; what if we told you that this is detrimental to our environment and is bad for the garment workers?

The ultimate purpose of fast fashion is to get the newest trends on the market as quickly as possible so that consumers may acquire them while they are trendy. Not long ago, consumers used to buy clothes only seasonally, but now, owing to the fast fashion trend, they shop as often as they want to stay in the trend loop and usually end up abandoning clothes after only a few wears. This adds up to fashion being one of the most polluting industries on the planet due to its poisonous system of overproduction and consumption of natural resources. Along with the exploitation of natural resources, mass production has a significant negative impact on environmental health. As mass-production takes less time, brands and companies are obliged to use low-quality materials to provide low-cost fashions to the market. The overabundance of consumption has emerged from these low-cost, popular items. Also, eventually, to the pockets of customers and garment workers. Although most people are now aware of the concept of fast fashion, it has become popular and appears invincible due to an increase in consumers' desire for up-to-date styles and an increase in consumer economic output, particularly among young people, to indulge these instantaneous desires.

What can we do about it?

1. Buy from brands that are eco-sustainable and ethical.

Consumers must pay more attention to their purchases and use the power of their concerns to make a positive difference in the environment and for the workers who make our garments and commodities. Look for OEKO-TEX®, GOTS®, or BLUESIGN® certification labels on clothing that limit chemical content. What could be better than shopping from a brand that is committed to environmental stewardship? Supporting brands who prioritise their morals before their profit margin!

2. Purchase high-quality items less frequently.

Every year, the garment industry creates 53 million tonnes of fibre, 70% of which end up in landfills or burnt, owing to mainstream fashion's heinous behaviour. To ensure that these quick fashion brands make a profit, they may not enable more ethically-minded businesses to thrive, which may work effectively against rapid fashion trends by promoting sustainability. So, the ultimate weapon is the ability to buy less by buying better. Choose the right product and stick to it. Make certain to have a high-quality product that will not deteriorate after just a couple of uses.

3. Gently used clothing can be donated or sold.

How can we make a difference immediately, now that we've gained a deeper understanding of fast fashion? Start donating the excess clothing that will harm the environment when discarded and extend their shelf life. There are more socially conscious businesses today than ever before, and many will now accept donated gently used garments or footwear in exchange for shop credit or a discount. Donate clothes to those retailers and receive a discount. It's also a good idea to look for local organisations that will accept donations for those in need.

4. Recycle and Responsible disposal.

Indians discard so much fabric that the country would reportedly require a landfill the size of New Delhi (as claimed by a joint report by ASSOCHAM and accounting firm PwC). Consider contributing to your local textile recycling program if a piece of clothing has become damaged and is no longer wearable.

5. Upcycle old clothes.

Let us give our garments a second chance at life. It's entirely plausible. Upcycling is the process of modifying an item to make it better than it was before. In the case of clothing, this typically entails taking something that doesn't fit or is damaged or ripped and refashioning it into a wearable item.

Fast fashion has massive repercussions, as it leads to mass-produced apparel. It's components, replication, quick manufacture, poor quality, and low costs/exorbitant discounts have an adverse environmental impact. As a result, it is our duty and responsibility to take matters into our own hands and switch to brands and enterprises focused on sustainability rather than fast fashion. Identify brands that don't provide detailed information about what they are doing to reduce their environmental effect or evidence that they provide decent and safe working conditions, as well as living wages, to their employees. These fast fashion firms are generally greenwashing their clients with false information to make them believe they are ethical and sustainable.

On this World Water Day, here is S. R.Gopal Rao's effort to raise awareness about the importance of understanding fast fashion and how to prevent it as it causes massive water pollution. Untreated hazardous effluent from textile industries is thrown directly into rivers in most of the nations where clothes are made. Toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, among others, are present in this effluent. These are exceedingly hazardous to aquatic life as well as the health of the millions of humans who live along the river banks. The contamination eventually makes its way to the sea and is spread around the world. Fertilisers used in cotton production is another substantial source of water contamination, polluting runoff and evaporation waters significantly. We must act quickly. We can choose clothes created in countries with better factory environmental rules, as well as organic and natural fibres that do not require the use of chemicals in their production.

It is critical for each of us to comprehend the importance of understanding the best methods for disposing of products and extending their shelf lives in any manner feasible. Let us choose wisely and let us #sustainourstyle


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