By Lois Wandless
In an industry with constantly changing trends and lower costs it is easy to forget about last season’s garments along with the waste and damage its causing to our world.
Fast fashion is the concept of offering new trends at high speed and lower prices to provide catwalk styles to the everyday, high-street consumer. Due to fast-paced production it is likely that environmental corners will be cut, and this leads to criticisms about the negative impact on water pollution, chemical use and textile wastage.
A recent report by The Ellen Macarthur Foundation, explains the fashion industry pollutes our planet with more greenhouse gases than both aviation and international shipping combined. Not only this, but the amount of waste the industry is producing is increasing from water usage to textile resources. Global clothes production has more than doubled since 2000 due to fast fashion, with the average person buying almost 60% more clothing items every year. With more consumption of clothing garments, it begs the question of where is this excess clothing and textile waste going. In the USA, over 85% of clothes end up in a landfill site.
It is this worrying concept which has left the Parliamentary Environmental Audit questioning “the social and environmental impact of disposable fast fashion”. The aim is to make the fast fashion industry greener and more sustainable before the consequences are out of our hands. Although there is a rise in awareness of how fast fashion is impacting us socially and ecologically, it is still difficult to advocate strong ideas on how we can collectively make the industry greener. At recent fashion weeks in LA and Milan, sustainable fashion leaders have held summits to brainstorm on the future landscapes of sustainable fashion. Ideas raised have ranged from using natural fibres from fruit to eventually one day 3D printing our own outfits.
The movement towards a sustainable fashion industry is thriving with leading brands from H&M to M&S, who offer consumers rewards for bringing their old garments to recycle. Other brands including People Tree and Thought, use organic and recycled fabrics to make new garments which is sustainable and environmentally friendly. However, to take the movement further the issue needs to be raised with larger fast fashion brands to question how they can contribute to a more sustainable fashion future.