The global impact of fast fashion and how to combat the wasted wardrobe
In the Instagram age, image and immediacy are everything. But though it may look good, the materialist Millenial movement is supporting – whether unconsciously or not – unsustainable and unethical practices. Indeed, It’s these worrying consumption trends that are feeding the fires of resource-guzzling “fast fashion”.
If you aren’t familiar with the term, fash fashion refers to designs that go quickly from the catwalk to the highstreet to capture the current mood, but which move equally quickly into the bin. Short-lived, disposable garments are having a terrible impact on the environment, the economy and society as a whole. Betway have created an interesting infographic to illustrate the current state of the industry, the projected figures for global consumption, the grim reality of labour practices and how certain countries are working towards creating a more eco-friendly production line.
According to Betway’s recent study, the fashion industry is our second biggest polluter: as well as using up huge amounts of water, it is responsible for monumental CO2 emissions and produces a vast amount of waste. Indeed if it carries on at the same rate, there is predicted to be a 60% increase in water waste by 2030, rising to a whopping 148k tonnes. The figures for greenhouse gases look even more concerning, with projections of 38.4 billion tonnes in just ten years. But there is also a human cost to fast fashion, with 14 million workers already being paid only 120% of the minimum wage, not enough to make a living or maintain an adequate quality of life. And this wage discrepancy is not just limited to companies outsourcing to sweatshops in poorer countries – even in the UK, those working in high-production locations are paid less than those in other sectors.
So what are we doing to combat this? Well, some UN nations are attempting to offset the impact of fast fashion through the establishment of sustainable initiatives. For example, France intends to ban stores from disposing of their unsold garments, and Denmark has banned single-use plastics at Copenhagen Fashion week. Some major brands, too, are making more of an effort, with Nike using recycled polyester in their clothing range, and recycling 99% of all recyclable water used during the dying process.
According to the study, you can also make a difference. It may sound obvious, but simply by purchasing fewer new clothes, every individual can do their bit to combat overproduction. Check out the infographic below to find out more about the current clothing climate and how you can help change the future of fashion.
The editorial unit