I had heard about how unethical the fast fashion industry was. I had heard about the devastating fires in sweatshop in Bangladesh and which companies that were responsible for it. Yet I chose to look the other way and completely ignored a thing called individual responsibility.
I am the first to admit to avoiding to educate myself about the consequenses of fast fashion for the sole purpose of blissfully continuing to shop fast fashion frequently. When it came to buying new cothing, I always chose quantity over quality. I saw fashion as a right, not a privilege. I wanted to follow all the trends and it was important to me to project an image of myself as a fashionable person.
It wasn't until I was forced to read about the problems related to fast fashion for a course at the University that I realised the gravity of the problems with fast fashion. That was also the first time that I understood how deep the issue was and that it wasn't just about the occasional fire at some sweatshop on the other side of the world or poor working conditions for the workers in the sweatshops, but that it was about so much more.
It is about people who riske their health and their lives every day just by going to work. It is about teenagers who are working instead of getting an education. It is about parents who are forced to send away their children so that they can work insanely long hours to provide for their family financially. It is about employers who are unable to improve the working conditions of their employees, even if they wanted to, because that would lead to all of them losing their jobs when the corporation they worked for decides to switch to another, cheaper subcontractor.
It is about an industry that has increased the demand of the customer by switching from two collections a year, one for fall and winter season and one for spring and summer season, and divided the year into microseasons where new collections are released every two weeks. This means that clothes are going out of style faster than ever before, which increases our consumption since we continously buy newer, more fashionable clothing.
It is about the mountains of unsold, unused clothing that are burned, instead of given away to those in need or recycled. It is not only about an uncredible waste of the end product, but an incomprehensible destruction of natural resources. It is about all the 2700 liters of water wasted in the production of a single cotton T-shirt (source: WWF ). It is about the clothes made of synthethic materials, like acryl, nylon or polyester that release microplastics with every was and clothes that are dyed with harsh chemicals. It is about plastic and poision that have the power to destroy our ecosystem in the waters and slowly and surely finds its way to destroy the ecosystems on land too.
The worst part is that all of the things i listed above is only the tip of the iceberg. It is just a scratch on the surface of a gigantic indusrtry that does not care about anything else than selling as much as possible for as much profit as possible. It is an industry that won't change and doesn't have to change as long as consumers keep buying their products. I realised that this is exactly where my individual responsibility steps in.
I realised that it is my responsibility to keep educating myself about the issues of fast fashion but also about how to conquer them. I realised that it was time for me to start thinking about werther I wanted 3 new tops today or a global crisis in 20 years? I realised that I had to start making a change for the environment and the people working in the industry, but also for myself and my own future. But I will tell you more about that in another post.