On a nice Saturday afternoon, two teenage girls browse through a fashion magazine, looking at the latest trends for winter. They pick the styles and accessories they feel will suit them. They then make a list of all the fashion accessories and clothes that they will purchase the following week.
Thousands of miles away, in Ukraine, a young man proudly wears a black t-shirt with some foreign words printed, and worn-out denim jeans. He is out shopping at the local flea market, hoping to find clothes that will fit him.
These two scenarios are different but both parties are shopping for clothing, for two different reasons.
Catering to the constant and ever-changing desires of the world, the world of fashion is dominated by large, active organizations that are always looking for ways to create the new ‘it’ thing.
Rolling out the latest products at a fast pace, thanks to their affordability, they are able to encourage consumers to purchase new clothes more than necessary.
And while style and appearance is imperative and most people believe that they are judged by their appearance, the fashion industry is not all glitz and glamor. It has a dark side to it that is not known by consumers.
Millions of people around the world are living in poverty. Many do not have access to food, sanitation, or even basic necessities. So many charities drop letters asking for clothes that can be donated and outside of parking lots, there are special ‘banks’ that ask for donated apparel.
But the truth is, many fashion houses are the culprits behind damage to the environment, defected fabric that has an unnoticeable mark or tear is often dumped into the garbage and sometimes in junkyards, or nearby lakes.
Not only does this contribute to poverty, it endangers the wildlife we are left with. Many homeless people use clothes found in junkyards to survive the cold, harsh winters. But when these clothes are dumped into the garbage, they become contaminated thanks to mold and bacteria from food waste.
This leads to illnesses and diseases which can be further spread around.
By donating clothes that can be recycled, individuals can help make a difference. Small textile industries can donate clothes to secondhand textile companies that sell and purchase old clothes. This helps recycle old clothes effectively and create awareness about the importance of donating.
Whitehouse & Schapiro, LLC is a global textile company that aims to create environmental awareness by selling and purchasing second-hand clothing. If you have a business that sells second-hand clothes, visit our website for further information, or take a look at our life cycle recycling policy.