Fast fashion is taking hold of the global fashion industry with each product it launches and distributes in the market. The reason why fast fashion has been increasing popular is that it fulfills the consumers’ desire to follow the newest fashion trends set by high-end designer brand.

Fast fashion clothing is easy to produce in mass quantity in short period of time. Although the speed of which we get the product from the manufacturing end to our shopping bag is very quick, the consequences it leaves on the planet we live on are threatening for all humankind.

According to studies, it takes about 1800 gallons of water to just to produce a pair of jeans? Not to mention other adverse effects caused by fast fashion.

So What’s Fast Fashion Causing to our Environment?

Toxic Chemicals

The vibrant textiles dyes used in the manufacturing of the clothes in fast fashion are not qualitatively up to the standards. These low-cost dyes contain substances hazardous to the environment and cause water pollution.

Nearly 200,000 tons of these dyes are lost to effluents each year. The contaminated water will then go into the main water stream and into our ocean.

Increase in Plastic Pollution

Polyester is the most common material fast fashion manufacturers use in their products. Both the production and dissemination of this material causes plastic pollution. The end result is more plastic in the sea, which disturbs the marine ecosystem, and ultimately alters the whole food chain.

Some brands like Patagonia have adopted an environment-friendly approach and have limited to offer only recycled polyester blend with cotton in its products.

Depletion of Water and Agricultural Resource

Fast fashion brands such as H&M and Zara are among the top five consumers of organic cotton in the global fashion industry. This huge consumption means there lies a need to produce more cotton, which utilizes a lot of nonrenewable sources of energy, such as freshwater.

This would in fact produce a negative environmental impact. Moreover, the irrigable land decreases in size due to mineral leaching.

So… What Can we do individually to Fight Fast Fashion?

  • Think twice before we buy.

Ask ourselves if we would really wear this item for a long term, or would we let it sit in our closet after we wear it once or twice. Are we buying based on impulse or do we really need that clothing item?

  • Buy it second hand at charity store or Vintage shop.

The main drawback that prevent us from considering buying second-hand items is that they are worn by someone else before.  When we think of second-hand item, many of us may think that the items could be very dirty, or we do not know what the firsthand owner did with it.

The truth is, clothes can be cleaned very easily. Many vintage or thrift stores would have the items gone through product quality check, before they can be put on sale. Plus, there are many benefits associate with buying second hand. For example, they are cheaper and they are more eco-friendly. You will also help to reduce the waste that go into landfill each year.

  • Rent it rather than buy it?

We probably all had to buy a clothing item for special occasions such as for weddings, for a work party or a ball with a dress code?

And the problem is, we probably will not be able to wear that item again and it will be sitting in our closet for years. Instead of buying the item, why don’t we try to rent or borrow it from friends? That not only will save us money but also save the planet!

Read more: Top 5 Green Technologies that Can Save the Planet in 2020