Why I Won't Shop New
Let me start by saying there are so many ways we all can make a difference in this world. For some it may be veganism, volunteering, or simply picking up litter on the weekends, for me it will be to stop my contribution into the fast fashion industry.
What is fast fashion? It's a term used to describe clothing retailers who can quickly turn over on-trend fashion at inexpensive prices, often supplying at least 52 "micro-season" collections a year instead of the once 2 seasons that designers were accustomed to.
Examples of the fast fashion include: Forever21, H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters and Walmart.
Prior to doing research on the fast fashion industry, I honestly did not think twice about why my shirt from Forever21 only cost five dollars.. but now I know the tole our shopping habits are not only having on the environment, but also to men and women over seas.
Environmentally the fashion industry is the second largest contributor of waste and pollution. The largest culprit being the oil companies. Water is wasted and polluted by dyes, landfills are overflowing with thrown away fashion, and 10% of the worlds carbon emission is created from textile and clothing manufactuers.
What is most troubling to me is how the women are treated in these overseas manufacturing companies. They work in sweat shop conditions where they are over worked, underpaid, beat, sexually abused and subjected to unsafe working conditions such as broken machinery and buildings that are out of code and verging collapse.
I understand that the low cost of the fast fashion industry is how most people can afford to not only clothe their familes, but also how young adults can stay on trend and express themselves through their clothes. And while most people may not be able to make such a life style change as to only shop second hand, there are ways you can change a few habits to make a difference.
- Shop second hand when you can! There are so many upscale consignment shops that carry your favorite brands that will allow you to wear what you like without handing money directly into the pockets of the corporations responsible.
- Learn to fix broken zippers and buttons. Make the clothing you do own last longer by learning new skills on how to repair your shirts, dresses, and pants.
- Never throw away broken, stained, or old clothing. Donate them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. One person's trash is another person's treasure.
There are also sustainable fashion brands that focus on fair work and eco-friendly clothing. They usually come at a much higher price tag, but quality over quantity would be a good focus if you do not like the idea of shopping second hand. I personally can not afford to have a closet comprised of sustainable clothing, but if I am ever in need of a formal dress or outfit that I can not find thrifted, then I will save my money to support an ethical fashion brand.