Today I wanted to create a blog post in which I will discuss a more serious topic than usual. Last week, I had to create an essay for school in which I had to express my opinion towards a global issue in no more than 500 words. Initially, I wanted to talk about environmental issues but I also really wanted to discuss something I already have some knowledge of. A few weeks ago, I came across an article about slow-fashion brands and how fast-fashion chains are responsible for many, many agricultural and environmental issues. I called my essay ''How the Fashion Industry is Part of the Earth's Destruction'' and did some research on websites such as Greenpeace and EcoWatch. The information provided by these websites were actually an eye-opener and also shocked me. After I finished my essay I was satisfied, but I still had this urge to elaborate further on my chosen topic. Before I express my opinion towards slow-fashion and fast-fashion, I quickly wanted to summarise what has been stated in these articles about the fashion industry. They mainly talk about the growth of cotton crops, the dyes that consist of harmful chemicals and the excessive consumption of water used for the manufacturing of garments. These paragraphs are part of my essay.
1. The growth of natural fibres is harmful to the agriculture.
Cotton has been an essential fabric and can be found in approximately 40 percent of our clothing. It is breathable, comfortable and sustainable. However, in order to grow cotton successfully you need pesticides, and not just a small amount. Cotton crops demand more pesticides than any other crop. According to EcoWatch, the production of cotton is responsible for 16 percent of global insecticide releases.
2. Dyes used for the manufacturing of clothing endanger the human and aquatic life.
The Citarum River in Indonesia is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world due to its many textile factories close to the shore. According to Greenpeace, the lives of 5 million people living in the vicinity of the Citarum River are in danger as the chemicals affect their health conditions. Greenpeace found a high amount of alkalinity in the river which has a severe, and presumably fatal, effect on the aquatic life.
3. The fashion industry is responsible for the excessive consumption of water.
According to Greenpeace, 7,000 litres of water is consumed when manufacturing one pair of jeans. To produce one t-shirt, 2,700 litres of water have to be consumed, which is equal to the approximant amount of water you drink in 900 days. ‘’In 2015, the global fashion industry consumed 79 billion cubic metres of water, which is more than electricity production, and is threatened by water shortages in cotton-growing countries.’’ – Greenpeace.
I do want to add that just because I wrote an essay about the disadvantages of the fashion industry, it doesn't mean I'm against the fast-fashion industry. It would even be hypocritical for me to be fully against it, since I'm guilty myself by purchasing garments from fast-fashion brands (H&M, Zara, Bershka, Mango, Topshop, et cetera). Almost everyone can call themselves guilty. I don't know one person in my life who hasn't purchased an item from a fast-fashion store, let only be conscious about what harm their clothes do. The only person that I knew was consciously purchasing clothes from these so-called 'slow-fashion' brands was my French teacher. My French teacher once told me the importance of purchasing clothes which were manufactured in eco-friendly circumstances. I often try to be conscious about how I treat the environment with my daily habits (except for taking pretty long showers, oops) by not throwing trash outside, brushing my teeth without letting any water run, bringing my own tote bag when I do groceries, purchasing pre-owned items and using clothes for many years. Still I'm struggling with purchasing clothes from fast-fashion brands. It's simply inevitable for me, and my other people.
But should we blame ourselves for promoting fast-fashion brands? I don't think so. However, you could certainly try to make a difference. With fast-fashion being only ten years old, it has become paramount for most fashionistas and bloggers, especially those who believe you don't have to spend large amounts of money in order to look stylish. I believe in the same philosophy but I do feel I, and many other fashionistas, could try to not worsen the current condition of the earth. This absolutely doesn't mean you should never purchase clothes from fast-fashion brands anymore, but you could be more conscious about what you do after you bought the garment. I will present a few solutions.
1. Sell your unwanted clothes
Since fashion changes and changes, I grow tired quickly of the clothes I purchased. Instead of throwing my clothes away, I give them to my sister or I will sell them on an app. United Wardrobe, Depop and Vestiaire Collective (rather for designer items) are apps in which you can sell your clothing without having to throw them away. The fun part is not only that you'll receive money, but you'll also recycle your clothes and Mother Earth will love you for that.
2. Purchase pre-owned items
The next solution connects with the first one. Instead of selling your clothes, you purchase them from an independent seller. Besides helping the environment, you'll also save a lot of money. You can purchase secondhand clothes via earlier-mentioned apps. If you are more into vintage clothing, I would suggest Etsy is the place to be.
3. Purchase from only slow-fashion brands
The term 'slow-fashion' comes from the Slow Food Movement. The Slow Food Movement was founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini in Italy. It basically links pleasure and food with awareness and responsibility and defends biodiversity in our food supply. Slow-fashion knows three principles; good, clean and fair. Good stands for the quality and sustainability of clothes, clean for production that doesn't harm the environment and fair stands for accessible prices for customers and fair conditions and wages for its producers. The only disadvantage is that slow-fashion is obviously less affordable than fast-fashion, and isn't an option for everyone.
What do you guys think about these solutions? I think they're great options if you don't have access to a lot of money, but still want to help the environment. Because I also want to be more conscious about what I buy and where I buy if from, I decided to download an earlier-mentioned app called Vestiaire Collective and look for a pre-owned, vintage designer bag. This app is perfect when you want to invest in designer items, don't have a lot of money and want to better the environment. I've always wanted to own a designer bag and always looked up to girls who were a proud owner of a gorgeous Prada or Chanel bag. I picked out four designer bags. The first bag is a beige Prada made from polyester and it's my favourite out of all the bags. The second bag is a white Prada and it's made from cloth. It's so gorgeous. Next up is a black leather bag from Louis Vuitton and it's such an elegant and delicate bag. Usually I'm not very keen on prints that are used for Louis Vuitton bags, but this one is very cute! Lastly, this bag is also from Prada and it's actually made from python leather. The skinny enveloppe type of fit is mainly what made me fall in love with the bag. As you might have noticed I really like Prada bags.
Oh my gosh. This was such a long post and I actually should have done homework, but I just had so much inspiration all of a sudden. If you made it until the very end, thank you for taking the time to read all of it. I really hope it inspired you and presumably opened your eyes a little more towards the fashion industry. Thank you for reading my post & I hope you enjoyed it!