Understanding Fast Fashion: Part Two

Understanding Fast Fashion: Part Two

By Jessica Hare


It is one thing to understand the detriments of fast fashion, it is another to actually feel capable of doing something about it. This space, this “I know it’s awful, but I don’t know what to do about it” space, is exactly where I’ve been stuck. I had attempted to research environmentally and socially responsible clothing brands, gotten frustrated, and given up.

For the first five months of the year, my strategy was just to ignore the issue and not buy clothes. This was obviously not a sustainable strategy. Eventually, the weather changed, I needed shorts, and I found myself buying fast fashion.

So what is to be done? How do we avoid fast fashion when it is much of what is readily available to us? There are companies that are striving to produce ethical fashion. It takes research, but it is possible to track down companies than pay fair wages and source materials responsibly. From what I have found, they are often much more expensive than what we are used to seeing. I have not yet made a purchase from one of these companies, but I imagine the price tag will take some getting used to.

If paying a higher price for clothing doesn’t seem palatable, there are lower cost options. One thing we can do is look back at the first of the 3Rs: reduce. We can start by reducing the amount of clothing that we purchase. We can mitigate the effects of fast fashion by sticking to the basics and not buying any more than we truly have to.

The second thing we can do is reuse. We can shop second hand as often as possible. On average, each American produces 82 pounds of textile waste per year. Shopping second hand can help save some of these clothing items from ending up in the landfill. Most communities have second hand stores and there are even websites that specialize in second hand clothing, such as ThredUp and Poshmark, where you can search very specifically for what you need.

Overall, I think the key for me moving forward is to be as proactive as possible. This would mean not waiting until the last second to make purchases so that I can keep my options open and not have to just buy the first thing that is available. Even if I can’t be perfect 100% of the time, taking these steps will make an impact.