For about 2 years now (I think!) I have been buying almost all of my clothes second hand. I wanted to do this because I had been reading about the environmental impacts of what is called ‘Fast Fashion.’
Fast fashion can be described as clothing produced quickly, generally by large clothing companies and sold at a cheap price. All of the big favourites – Primark, New Look, Next, H&M, Zara, Pretty Little Thing, Oh Polly… the list goes on and on and on.
Here are some facts about fast fashion that I found and the websites I found them on:
Producing all this clothing creates large carbon footprints, from the physical production and distribution, and also other environmental issues including the massive use of chemicals in the bleaching/treatment of these garments (which can find its way into waterways) and the pollution the cause when the materials eventually wear or styles change and they are thrown away. I couldnt even tell you how many pairs of Primark jeans I’ve ripped and subsequently chucked over the years!
Here are some scary facts I’ve seen:
– 80 to 100 billion pieces of clothing are estimated to be produced globally every year. (www.lsx.org.uk)
– It takes approximately 1800 gallons, over 8000 litres, of water to grown thr cotton used to make a single pair of jeans. (www.thefashionlaw.com) Thats enough water for a man to drink the recommended amount of water, around 3.7 litres a day, for 2285 days. Thats 6.26 years.
– (dopplle.com/10-fast-fashion-facts/) This site says that in the UK, about £140m tonnes of clothing goes to landfill every year.
There are so many more facts I could include but I just wouldn’t know where to stop! Have a look at ‘fast fashion facts’.
So after reading about the havoc fast fashion wreaks on the planet I decided that I would stop buying new clothes. Of course, some things I didn’t include in this, for example; underwear and bras, bikinis and swimwear. I have bought hardly used gym clothes such as leggings and running jackets.
I have bought the odd thing and I am generally pretty strict with it – I bought a new coat, some boots and a hat and gloves and things like that, but I have resolved to buy good quality when I do buy brand new, so that the clothes will last. I’ve also bought from places like ‘Rapinu (Teemill)’ which you need to take a look at. They are trying to encourage a circular behaviour when it comes to their clothes, where their materials are ethically sourced and recycled, their staff are fairly paid and well treated, and the clothes can be sent back when worn out to be used to make other clothes! Clever! I also find them reasonably priced.
Initially, this was a new years resolution, just to see if I could do it. And it was far easier than I thought!! I have saved so much money and time wasted on shopping in highstreet stores. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone, even if you just try it for a month.
My goal now is to start buying underwear and swimwear etc. from sustainable businesses that promote the use of sustainable materials or a circular method of production.
Brands to look into:
– Everyday; Rapinu, TenTree, Alternative Apparel, Pact, TOMS, Lucy and Yak, Organic Basics, People Tree, Know The Origin
– Sports; Ruby Moon Swimwear, Girlfriend Collective, Patagonia, Kathmandu, Bruce Apparel, Adidas x Parley, Ohmme
– Underwear; Organic Basics, Rapinu, Pact, Wama Underwear, Everlane, Opok, Boody
Challenges you can try:
– Stop buying new clothing for a month.
– Try to rewear the same article 30 times before donating it.
– Buy your next clothing article through a second hand app such as Depop, ThredUp, Vinted, Shpock.
– Join a “Buy Nothing” Facebook group where clothing (and other home items!) are given away!
– Don’t be scared of Facebook Marketplace!
– Get handy and try out some ‘Thrift Flips’! Change a dress into a skirt, turn old clothes into christmas decorations, bunting, anything you can think of! Get creative! Use scral fabric to make a fabric wreath, possibilities are really endless! I’ve seen patchwork jeans made from tens of pairs of worn out, donated jeans!
Please, share your tips and tricks with me and other readers by leaving a comment! Do you shop second hand? Know any different sustainable brands? What was the scariest fast fashion fact you have seen?