The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world.
This is because of the recent rise of fast fashion. Fast fashion is defined as inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. It seems that companies are coming out with new collections every couple weeks as new trends arise. And when those trends fade, consumers feel the need to keep up and end up throwing away the cheap clothes they just bought. Or because the clothes are so cheap in the first place, they don ‘t last. This is why the average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year. That adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone. The fashion industry is often unethical not just because of pollution, but also because of human rights violations. The reason why we can buy clothing from stores like fashion nova, H&M, and forever 21 for so cheap is because the people that made the clothing weren’t paid fairly and often weren’t treated humanely. Our demand for cheap clothing and our indifference towards the people that make them has made us these shells of human beings constantly trying to keep up with the constantly shifting trends.
So what are we to do when we love fashion, but don’t want to compromise our values?
We can either:
Stop buying so much and be satisfied with and grateful for what we have, realizing that buying more is never going to fulfill us
Only buy from ethical brands that produce good quality, lasting clothing in a sustainable and ethical way
Buy vintage & thrifted clothing.
The reason why vintage and thrifted clothing is a great ethical option is because you aren’t using new materials and you’re actually reusing old ones that would otherwise be sitting in a landfill. You can also find really unique items that nobody else will have. Whereas, when you buy from a brand like fashion nova, so many other people are going to have that same piece. There are few things more satisfying than saying “Thanks, it’s vintage/thrifted.” Pick and choose trends that match your style from previous generations. Trends are going to keep coming and going, but you can choose to step away from the trends and curate your own style. High rise pants were considered weird a few years ago and now they’re all the hype and low rise are considered weird. And all those pictures of teens in the early 2000s that everyone laughs about now, were considered cool during that time and young girls who weren’t wearing that were saying #goals. I think it’s time we stop caring about trends.
We’re never going to catch up to society’s idea of perfect because it’s constantly changing. And why would you want to anyway?
Wear what you like and express yourself how you feel comfortable and confident. The people that set trends in the first place are people that take risks & wear what they like despite the norms and societal pressure. Society thinks that if somebody doesn’t cut themselves apart to fit into the cookie cutter, there’s something wrong with them. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. Be unique in your style and in your uncompromised values by buying vintage. No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.