In our time, the traditional notion of summer, fall, winter, and spring style is being replaced by a fashion industry working on rapidly putting out new and cheap clothes every day so that nobody ever worries about being a season behind. Blink, and your wardrobe being a month outdated is seasons behind in the current times.
That’s all because of fast fashion. Our desire for the newest and coolest styles has only led to cheaper online stores popping up. The success of Forever 21— in creating the low quality yet affordable clothing that’s always incorporating the newest street and social media influencer styles—has only encouraged other companies to follow in their footsteps, and the results are catastrophic. Journalist Elizabeth Cline writes about how this occurs in her book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. Essentially, the lower the quality of our clothes, the sooner we dispose of them and the more waste we put out into the world. In 2017 the Copenhagen Fashion Summit reported that fashion is responsible for 92 million tons of solid waste dumped in landfills each year. The fashion industry is also the second-largest consumer of water. They produce 20 percent of wastewater while also generating more greenhouse gas emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
And as we all know, being kind to the environment means being kind to our nation’s pockets. Nationwide, a municipality pays $45 per ton of waste sent to a landfill. New York City alone ends up paying $20.6 million annually just to ship textiles to landfills and incinerators.
So what’s the solution? How do we look good without spending so much on shipping costs alone? How can we reduce the time spent waiting months for our clothes to ship in from China? (if you’ve ever bought from Zaful, you know the struggle).
The answer: thrift shopping.
By shopping less and less from huge fast fashion companies and instead, turning to sustainable thrift stores selling second-hand clothing, we can ensure less waste goes out into our environment.
Buying more and more from thrift stores means we are buying less from fast fashion industries. That means fewer clothes are thrown out each year, doing good to both our environment and economy. If you’ve ever wondered how you can contribute to decreasing your carbon footprint or how to promote a more sustainable lifestyle in a way even easier than ordering a reusable metal straw online, look no further.
Thrifting is the easiest way to go, all while you save money and look good doing it. Even more, it’s way cheaper than the popular inexpensive clothing of stores of Zaful and Rue 21. By shopping at thrift stores, you can find clothes that truly represent your one of a kind style.
I am always looking for simple ways to contribute to bettering the world around me. We can’t all take down the huge organizations and companies contributing to pollution and waste in our world overnight. Through small acts along the way can make a big difference. Fast fashion is a lesser-known enemy of the environment. We should replace our one time wear online purchases with a thrifted jacket or top that we know we’ll reuse over and over. By doing that we too can contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable world.