It’s finally payday and you’ve been dying to get your hands on those new Balenciaga sock sneakers. Except there’s a bit of a problem. They are way out of your budget. So you do a little online research and eventually find a similar pair at Zara for $50. Major score, right?? Not so fast.
Even though you may be in love with those sneakers for a few months, maybe even a year, the trend will eventually pass and those sock sneakers will probably either find a home in the back of your closet or they’ll be thrown in the garbage.
By now, we all know (or at least I hope we all know) that global warming is a major problem that we are contributors to. And with fast fashion decreasing the amount of time needed to produce clothes and increasing the amount of clothing waste, it’s not difficult to see why fashion is “one of the most polluting industries, producing 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per year,” according to nature.com.
Why does fashion produce so much more Carbon than other production industries?
In order to produce clothes at such a rapid and cost-effective rate, manufacturers use synthetic fibers instead of natural fibers. The production of these fibers emits more carbon that that of natural fibers. According to Style That’s Sustainable: A New Fast-Fashion Formula, a single polyester t-shirt has around 2.6 times the CO2e emission of the same shirt made from cotton.
Okay, so you know that fast fashion and synthetic materials are bad for the environment. But, what are we supposed to do about it? Do we have to give up shopping for good? Or is there a way to still be on trend while reducing our (fashionable) carbon footprint?
There are a few ways to still get your shopping fix in without causing as much damage to the planet.
This is the easiest way to reduce your waste and contribution to global warming! Trendy items sold at stores like Forever 21 and H&M tend to be either thrown out within a few years or fall apart due to the lack in quality. To remedy this, buy less cheap trendy pieces and more quality staple items that you will wear over and over and will last you a long time.
If you have clothes that you don’t wear anymore or aren’t as trendy as they once were, donate them! You can either sell them to a secondhand store like Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet or just donate them to Goodwill or an organization like Dress for Success.
If you just can’t give up the thrill of buying new clothes,(trust me, I get it) there are a lot of great ethical and eco-friendly clothing stores out there that can serve as alternatives to your typical fast fashion stores. Although they are a little pricier and require more effort to find, they’ll last you much longer. Some of my favorites are Reformation, Everlane, Raven + Lily, and ABLE. You can also always go thrifting for a more cost efficient way of finding unique clothes.
Even though changing your shopping habits isn’t going to single-handedly stop global warming, it is one of the many ways to help reduce the impact we have on it. And each step we take towards reducing our negative impact on the Earth is a positive one.