I always talk about how I pledged to only shop eco-friendly and ethically made, but I don’t think I’ve gone into too much detail. The initial reason why I decided to stay away from ‘fast fashion’ (clothing made cheaply and quickly) stores is because of how garment workers are treated in the fashion industry. There are so many people falling ill and dying because of inhumane conditions in garment factories. However, there is so much more to the story of how the fashion industry is harming our environment.
There are harmful chemicals in the clothes you buy. Pesticides, insecticides, formaldehyde and flame retardants are used in the manufacturing and dying process and are present in clothes at the mall. Next time you go shopping, rub your fingers together after touching the clothing and you will have a grimy feeling. It unfortunately isn’t just present in your clothes, but also in shoes, purses and accessories. According to an article in the New York Times the amount of lead in these accessories is above the legal amount and can have harmful effects on young women especially while pregnant. The chemicals found in both clothing and accessories not only harm people, but also the environment when thrown away.
With the growth of fast fashion and very affordable clothes, people started to buy more and donate or throw away used items. The problem with throwing clothes away is that since there are so many harmful chemicals used to manufacture clothes, they pollute the environment. The average American throws away over 68 pounds of textiles per year that end up in landfills. Because most of the clothing is made with synthetic fibers that can resemble plastic, it takes decades to decompose.
I know it can seem overwhelming, but there are so many things we can do to change the fashion industry. First and foremost, being a conscious consumer will make the greatest impact. Being a conscious consumer means buying less and knowing where to buy eco and ethically made clothes as well as used clothes.
Next time you want to buy something, check out thrift stores or look at labels in other stores. Savers is a great thrift store that is super organized, but a little more costly than Goodwill. ThredUp is an online consignment store with tons of brand name clothes that are gently used.
Check out the eco-fashion and ethical page at the top to see where you can buy sustainable clothes.