Having an amazing wardrobe filled with all of the latest trends and tons of clothes is great. But what does it all mean if it is contributing to detrimental effects on our environment? The fashion industry is the second dirtiest industry in the world after oil. The china textile industry produces around 3 billion tons of soot (black powdery substance consisting of amorphous carbon) each year, many rivers are polluted by runoff of the untreated toxic dyes from mills, and 2.5 billion tons of wastewater is produced each year from the textile industry. That is just the beginning of a very long list of negative effects that the fashion industry contributes to pollution. We are at a very trivial point in our world, and becoming a smarter shopper is vital now more than ever. We are not creating a sustainable environment for ourselves or for future generations. The reason why these factories are producing immense amounts of waste, is because there is a demand for things like fast fashion. If people start shopping smarter, there is a possibility to change that demand. Here are a few ways to become a smarter shopper!
1. Buy Less, Invest.
Fast fashion is a great idea in theory. Get the pieces you want, when you want, at the price you want. Unfortunately, the negatives of fast fashion outweigh the positives. This doesn’t mean you have to invest in every item in your closet, that would be a lot to ask, but go for staple items such as a winter jacket. Invest in a timeless, better quality jacket that is going to last for years. Companies such as Patagonia have adapted to this idea. Patagonia's 2016 Black Friday advertisement was "Don't buy this jacket." What they meant by this advertisement was don't buy it unless you need it. Patagonia also sells repair kits for their jackets so if your product was damaged in some way, you can fix it rather than buying a whole new jacket.
2. Stop buying separates.
Have you ever looked through your closet and found items that you bought specifically for something, but never ended up wearing? It is time to put an end to wasting money and resources! One way you can work on this is before you buy something, think about if you can wear it with three other pieces of clothing you have. This way, your closet not only becomes more versatile, but also can lead to less wasteful purchases. With 7 billion people on this planet, imagine all the clothes produced to cover everyone- it's a lot!
3. Donate or repurpose.
Come spring, your closet is probably due for a cleaning. This is the perfect time to sort through your things to get rid of the old, and make room for the new! The worst thing you could do is throw away everything you don’t want. Donate it before your throw it away, and you will be helping your community and keeping waste out of the Earth's landfills. Or, if it is a piece you love but doesn’t work anymore, think of ways to repurpose it! This is something you can have fun with; create something unique and new for spring. Kallio, a kids wear brand based in Brooklyn, has coined the phrase "making old clothes young again" by repurposing old men's dress shirts. Upcycling is sustainable, cost-effective, and creative.
Where your clothes come from is important. Where your clothes end up is important. How beautiful could a piece of clothing be if it took so many resources and created so much waste to make it? Becoming a smarter shopper is a simple way that every person has the opportunity to change the direction of the fashion industry.
FSU's Premiere Fashion Magazine