While reading this interesting article for my Fashion Marketing class I was thinking… What’s my waste size? The article exposes one of the major environmental problems of today. And the cause is the so-known fast fashion, which the rapidity by which brands like Zara or H&M come up with new looks and outfits every two weeks.
Any of us “have those clothes sitting in your closet: that shirt you spent less than $10 on because it looked cool for a second, or that skirt you only wore once before it went out of fashion.” The fact that we can afford not to use everything we buy is also because with mass-production clothes can be more affordable, and as a consequence we buy more.
The point of the article is that the more style is produced, the more we buy and so the more waste we create. This is obviously damaging the environment and the economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded.
So, how to deal with all this textile waste? According to the article, one way developed nations get rid of their excess clothing is by donating it to developing nations. For example, the United States is the biggest exporter of used clothes, and the top importing countries of used clothing are India, Russia, and Pakistan. Another way are second-hand shops and market, which is also become a trend lately. (You know, some vintage vibes never hurt!) Textiles can also become art! In this article, for example, you can read about a Portuguese artist who realizes sculptures and tapestries and rugs recycling textile materials.
On the other hand, the same clothing retailers have lately introduced take-back programs that collect used garments from customers to be recycled, sold or remade into other clothing. H&M, Intimissimi and Calzedonia are among them, even if it may encourage to buy and consume more, making the cycle of fast fashion speed again.
The solution? I don’t think there could be a real solution. The things we can do to slow down this high-speed process is to become more conscious and try to buy less, or at least just the clothes that we actually think we can use. Don’t buy if you are not sure to use it, or invest your money in more valuable and durable pieces. I assure you that’s not a waste!