One of the things that a lot of people don't realize is how wasteful and socially unethical fast fashion is. According to the World Watch Institute it takes approximately 2,700 liters of water just to make one cotton t-shirt, correlating to an amount of drinking water that accommodates one person for 900 days. The cotton industry itself is responsible for 24% of the world's insecticide use and 11% of its pesticides. Not only this, it takes on average 10,000 liters of water to produce just one kilogram of cotton. So it is our responsibility to quit fast fashion and support more sustainable and ethical brands.
The likes of Adidas, Nike, Uniqlo, Rip Curl, H&M, Cotton On, Primark, Wish and Urban Outfitters (plus many many more) are associated with at least one of the following disastrous social and environmental impacts:
1. The use of toxic chemicals
2. The severe contamination of water used for washing and drinking
3. The failure to care about animal rights - use of animal products for clothing (leather, fur etc.)
4. The use of child and forced labor
5. The violation of labor rights
6. Poor working conditions and unfair wages - prioritizing profits over individual wellbeing's
7. The authorization of unsafe factories
8. Failure to protect the environment and all natural resources
The overproduction and overconsumption of cheap disposable clothing is due to the ever present clothing trends present throughout social media, magazines and online articles. Unfortunately a large sum of people succumb to cheap, new and trendy clothing, and therefore ultimately support the conditions in which these fashion brands uphold.
Therefore, as consumers we have the opportunity to care more about the environment, how our clothes are made and the people who made them.
We can do this by:
1. Buying less - asking ourselves if we really need this new piece of clothing.
2. Buying higher-quality clothing
3. Buying from ethical and sustainable brands - eg. Patagonia, Kathmandu, Pact, NICO, Etiko
4. Avoiding fashion trends
5. Buying secondhand
6. Re-using, repurposing and up-cycling