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The Gap Year Blog

The Impacts of Fast Fashion on our Environment

22 Oct 2019 12:45 PM


With todays apps like Instagram and Pinterest it is hard to not want to keep up with the fashion inspired by famous designers and celebrities. This has now created fast fashion which is drastically affecting our environment through the chemicals used and the massive amounts of waste which builds up. Due to trends going and coming companies usually produce cheap clothes which involves disregard to the environment, so they mass produce as many clothing items as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

As we are all aware dyes are used to achieve the stunning and eye-catching fashion trends, but these dyes are very toxic to the environment when washed out. This then pollutes the environment and water sources which can be devastating for the wildlife that lives there and for the local people if these toxins reach their water supplies. It is so bad that Textile dying is the second largest polluter of clean water in the world. To try to prevent this green peace has been trying to regulate companies and brands to stop using toxic chemicals and to try use more eco friendly dyes.

Some fabrics to avoid are the synthetic ones. For example, Nylon which is made using petroleum and it is then treated with many toxic chemicals after which are toxic to the environment and to us humans. Also, in nylon production greenhouses gases are also emitted which contributes to the harmful effects of climate change. Polyester is also another synthetic fabric which also uses petroleum in its manufacturing process which means it does not easily biodegrade and it can also harm humans by possibly effecting fertility. Also, non synthetic fabrics such as rayon and cotton can be harmful as rayon contributes to deforestation and cotton uses 700 gallons of water to make one cotton t-shirt.

Now what are some of the ways that you can prevent fast fashion. Well you could simply buy less clothes and not fall for the trends. Shop from sustainable clothing brands so you know they care about the environment and the people that make them. Buy timeless/staples that will last a long term and look good during any era of fashion. Buy higher quality clothing as it most likely would have been made with some thought for the environment as well as the item lasting for longer. Shop in charity shops so clothes are not going to waste. You might also find something for a very good price and you’re helping charity. You also could use apps like Depop where you can buy and sell old clothes further preventing waste of clothes. You can also wash your clothes less as it uses a lot of energy and water.

But what are fashion brands doing to help solve this or lessen the damage of fast fashion. Well Zara has made a commitment to make all their cotton, linen and polyester sustainable by 2025 and all viscose sustainable by 2023. Inditex who owns other clothing brands as well as Zara has also pledged to try and make all cotton organic and recycled whist also helping the farmers. Asos has also pledged to reduce carbon intensity every year until 2020. They are trying to reduce emissions from buildings, business travel, packaging and transportation of goods.

Guest Blogger: Work Shadowing 

By Emily May Harris - City and Islington Sixth Form College  

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!