Fast fashion is a name used to describe clothing brands and retailers who aim to move through mainstream fashion trends quickly. Although this may sound ideal, the environment and the workers suffer greatly because of it. Many popular stores, including Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, H&M, Zara, and Brandy Melville, rely on unethical labor practices to produce their goods. These unethical labor practices comprise mainly of sweatshops in developing countries, where some of their workers are paid as little as $3 everyday and where children as young as 5 years old are forced to work. These factories also contribute an increasing amount of toxic waste into water and air supplies. Another problem with fast fashion is that fast fashion depends on the idea that its' clothing items go in and out of style quickly, which causes consumers to buy more clothing from them. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American throws away about 81 pounds of clothing per year. Once this ends up in a landfill, they produce massive amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas, as they degrade. However, although many clothing items are made of natural materials such as cotton or linen, these materials are highly processed with bleaches, dyes, and other chemicals. When placed in landfills, these chemicals leach into groundwater. When incinerated, the release dangerous toxins into our atmosphere. When buying clothing, consider where it is coming from, and whether you really need it.
Your dollar shows where your heart is! Here are some simple ways and brands to help you shop ethically!
Buy clothing second hand!
Buying clothing second hand not only does not support unethical labor practice, but also reduces clothing waste. One way to do this is by going to thrift stores. If you prefer online shopping, apps such as Depop make it easier than ever to find cute second hand clothing at a low price. Depop also allows you to sell your own used clothes and can help reduce your own clothing waste.
Do your research
The app Good On You among other blogs help you search brands and review how ethical they are. There are also many blogs that review brands and list great alternative brands.
Look for brands that advertise that they are ethical
Brands such as Everlane, and People Tree are 100% honest about where their products are made. This makes it easy to shop and is guilt free.
Camille Zimmer and Mila Roemer