The women's clothing industry is a hoax. Yes, you heard that right. The seven trillion-dollar industry is working against us, not for us. You are probably wondering how we made this industry a seven trillion-dollar one in the first place. I have two words for you: fast fashion.
Fast fashion involves replicating trends rapidly and using low-quality materials to bring inexpensive styles to us consumers. While that may sound harmless to the layman, the truth is that the fast fashion industry targets vulnerable teenagers. They insipidly purchase clothing to meet trends that come and go, i.e., the industry profits off their ignorance.
Companies that fall under the category of fast fashion replicate streetwear and fashion week trends as they appear in real-time. By creating new styles weekly, these brands can create an enormous amount of clothing, which ensures that we, as customers, never tire of their store's inventory.
According to author Elizabeth Cline, companies like H&M and Forever21 both get daily shipments of new styles. Topshop introduces up to 400 new styles a week on their website. This rapid production of clothing results in brands selling severely low-quality merchandise, to compensate for the restriction in time and the incredibly low prices.
To make things worse, the synthetic fibres, that fast fashion brands use, are non-biodegradable and can sit in landfills for up to 200 years. Certain fashion brands have been accused of using toxic chemicals and dangerous dyes that seep into the water supply system of both the country of export and at home, where the garment is washed.
This endless cycle of purchasing low-quality clothing items at insanely low prices, only to throw them away after a few wears and start over, ultimately harms the environment. It also affects the people involved in its production and (to answer our initial question) our wallets. So, it should come as no surprise that the Fashion and Textile Industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. The question now is how can we, as consumers help?
Here is where sustainable fashion comes into play. Sustainable fashion can be defined as a movement towards mindful manufacturing, fair labour rights, natural materials, and lasting garments. This means that there are brands that care about us and the safety of our earth. Buying a garment from a responsible brand ensures that you purchase a quality product that was sourced and manufactured ethically. Doodlage, Kosataga, 11:11, Ka-Sha are a few such brands.
As consumers, we have the power to break this demand-driven supply chain. So, let us use that power to ensure long-term sustenance of this beautiful planet we call home.