Have you fallen victim to the fast fashion virus? If you have, you’re definitely not the only one. According to a recent report by online resale platform thredUP 1 in 3 Gen Z say they feel addicted to fast fashion. We’d say that’s shockingly high and thredUP decided to do something about it. The platform partnered up with Stranger Things actor Priah Ferguson to launch the very first fast fashion confessional hotline.
“Students want to quit fast fashion”
The fast fashion confessional hotline is meant to help young people break up with fast fashion for good. It’s not something thredUP is trying to force on anyone though. “Our data shows that college students want to quit shopping fast fashion, but we know it’s hard to resist. That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with Priah. Together, we set out to make it easier than ever for shoppers to kick the fast fashion habit and embrace a healthier way to shop”, says Erin Wallace, VP of Integrated Marketing at thredUP
The report also found that “59% of fast fashion shoppers say shopping fast fashion is a habit that’s hard to stop. Further, nearly 2 in 3 fast fashion shoppers say they aspire to buy more secondhand fashion.”
Fast fashion confessional hotline
So what is this confessional all about? It’s a hotline that gives callers the chance to confess their fast fashion sins. Of course that could help shoppers deal with feelings of guilt, but something else they get out of calling the hotline is some much needed support. Callers will hear Priah’s voice on the other side of the line trying to convince them not to buy more fast fashion. And if they stay on the call they can learn more about why exactly fast fashion is bad for the planet. Priah even shares her own fast fashion confession, which shows that even the actor isn’t completely immune to the virus.
Why fast fashion is bad for the environment
If you haven’t really paid attention to the matter, you might be wondering why fast fashion is all that bad. Fast fashion is defined as cheap clothing based on catwalk and celebrity trends and is manufactured at an incredible speed to bring the newest styles on the market. It plays on the idea that the same clothing can’t be worn twice and that shoppers have to keep buying the newest looks to stay relevant.
Billions of dollars thrown away
The problem with fast fashion is that the clothing isn’t made to last and ultimately ends up in landfills. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation each American throws away about 80 pounds of clothing annually on average. Every year 460 billion USD worth of wearable clothes is discarded. And if clothes doesn’t end up in landfills, some companies simply choose to burn them if they’re not sold at the end of the season. Obviously that’s not great for the environment, but it’s not the only emissions problem with the clothing industry. According to Levi Strauss & Co. you emit just as much carbon while driving your car 80 miles as it takes to produce a pair of jeans.
Mass water pollution
There are more issues though. The production process requires a considerable amount of energy and resources and depends on toxic chemicals that contaminate fresh water. The fashion industry is in fact the second most polluting industry when it comes to water. Textile dyeing alone is responsible for 20 percent of global wastewater. And guess what, that wastewater is directly released into rivers and streams, endangering the health of the people and animals in the surrounding areas.
Apart from chemicals the fashion industry also pollutes water with microplastics. This is especially the case when it comes to the cheap polyester that’s used in fast fashion. Every time the clothes are washed they release microfiber plastic into the water system that could eventually end up in the food chain. Research still isn’t conclusive about the health ramifications of microplastics, but it doesn’t sound good does it?
Inhumane working conditions
Yet another problem is the way factory workers are treated. The looks have to be produced fast and cheap and that usually means factories in countries where workers are exploited. According to research in numerous factories, workers are faced with forced overtime, dirty drinking water, and pressure to keep working and not use the bathroom. In some cases they don’t even get paid after working more than 100 hours a week.
Of course a lot of these problems are not only fast fashion problems. The fashion industry in general is very polluting, but even more so when we give in to fast fashion and people are stimulated to keep on buying disposable clothing non stop. Luckily there are alternatives. Second hand clothing is a great way to keep shopping without encouraging an overload of clothes being made. There are also some brands that try to produce their looks responsibly. A few sustainable fashion brands are Pact, Kotn, Vetta, and Summersalt. Brands to avoid are unfortunately Primark, Shein, Zara, and Stradivarius.
Another way to be environmentally responsible with fashion is to swap it. Rehashclothes.com is a great website to trade your old clothes with other members. It’s also a great way to save money at the same time.