The Cardinal Times

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Don’t buy fast fashion

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My typical shopping day is a trip to the thrift store (Goodwill Outlet, Salvation Army), a stop at local vintage stores, or buying and selling on websites such as Depop and Mercari. While these alternatives may seem bizarre, they are ecological methods to finding fashionable items.

Our materialistic society focuses on a cycle of consumption and disposal and created the phenomenon known as climate change. Our environment is suffering severely from the damage we are doing to it. Climate change is causing natural disasters and forest fires, which in turn is causing the extinction or reduced population of many species.  

Young adults and students typically do not have the means to buy expensive items such as clothing and accessories. Therefore students often purchase items made from unsustainable or unethical brands at an affordable price in order to still have spending money for other life expenses. Many shop fast fashion because of the constant demand for “faster fulfillment” according to the New York Times. This is where globalization comes into play. Globalization is the process in which the garments being sold travel halfway around the world in order to get to the people fast. The vessel transporting the items is fueled by fossil fuels.

The production process to manufacture trendy yet unethical clothing is expedited in order to get the hottest trends to the market cheaply and quickly. This allows the people to buy trendy clothing at a cheap price. The material is often very inexpensive and easily ripped or damaged, which makes people more willing to throw it away when a new trend comes around.

“The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world…second only to oil,” according to the Eco Watch.  There are many chemicals and dyes used to produce textiles which pollute our water. There are also many synthetic and unsustainable materials such as polyester and cotton which emit a great amount of carbon dioxide when produced. According to the Eco Watch, not only does cotton emit carbon dioxide, it also can take around “more than 5,000 gallons of water” just to produce one garment.

How do we avoid and prevent further damage? There are many alternatives to fast fashion that can be used to protect our environment. We can thrift at local shops, or non profit organizations. We can shop for clothing that is more ethically manufactured. An example is algae based fabrics which use less water to produce. We can always turn old clothing into new pieces and use our  creativity to customize different items. If that all is still too difficult, there is the option to invest in more expensive, but durable items that will last a long time.

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