The way we consume and wear clothing today is completely different to how previous generations wore it.
Back in the day, clothing could last you decades. How long do you clothes remain in your closet? All of us have a favorite pair of jeans or a sweatshirt that we’ve kept around but generally clothes don’t stay in our closet for longer than a year, maybe two.
Ever wondered why don’t keep clothes around for long now? It’s so much easier for us to discard our clothes today than it was previously for two main reasons.
Firstly, fast-fashion brands thrive on low-prices. They mass-produce low-priced clothing so it sells easily. These low-prices are clearly irresistible to customers because they are buying much more than they need to. Secondly, fast-fashion brands are trend based. They rely on what’s currently in and emulate Pop culture. They are fashionable only for the time being.
Fast-fashion items may not be of the highest quality but they do sell like hot cakes. The industry is flourishing as more companies join the market every year.
With that being, the fast-fashion industry is being called out by environmentalists for the annual dumping of tons of clothes in landfills.
Fashion industry has a tainted reputation. It’s been in the new for exploiting workers and running sweatshops in developing countries. A few years ago 1,133 workers died in Bangladesh when their factory collapsed.
Other than the ethical issues involved in mass-producing clothes in developing countries, the fashion industry is also the second greatest polluter of the environment.
Millions of gallons of water go into developing fast-fashion items every day. Due to the lack of regulations in developing countries, the waste water is left untreated and flows into the river.
Many fast-fashion items are made of synthetic fibers that are made from the same polymers as plastic therefore can take up to 200 years to decompose. Clothes that end up in landfills clog them for hundreds of years!
Because of the lack of oxygen in landfills, clothes are forced to degrade anaerobically, releasing harmful toxins into the air.
There are fashion designers and brands that are paying attention to the environmental impact of fast-fashion.
Stella McCartney made her models pose in landfills to shed light on the problem. She also launched an eco-fashion line. Eco-fashion brands have also been established a niche in the fashion industry however for them to have a sufficient impact, eco-fashion needs to become mainstream.
If eco-fashion becomes mainstream, we may be able to prevent millions of tons of textile waste into the environment annually.
At Whitehouse & Shapiro, we’re doing our part in protecting the environment by stopping 2.5 million tons of textile waste from clogging landfills every year and extending the lifecycle of clothes. We’re leaders in the second-hand clothing industry; we purchase credential clothing and thrift store excess and sell it to importers in foreign markets.
Want to help us in our mission of reducing global textile waste? Contact us or visit us in our store in Baltimore, Maryland.