July 09 2021
Garments destined for landfill rather than posterity.....
When we make fashion choices, we think whether or not it represents our personal style, lifestyle, our status, etc. It gives us self confidence. The way you dress plays a role in the everyday part, how you see yourself, and how people see you.
Miuccia Prada said about your style: " What you wear is how you represent yourself to the world, especially today when human contact is so quick, fashion is an instant language”
Nowadays, when we shop, we do not pay attention anymore to where the garments are made, what fabrics they are made of, the dyes used, and whether the price reflects a fair wage for the production. Those ethics should be on our radar when we choose our clothes.
Most of the time, we are not even aware of the numerous accidents happening in those fast fashion fabrics. Tragic fires and structural collapses in unsafe clothing factories, resulting in deaths of workers and unregulated pollution in India and China. Not to mention child labor and low wages... How did we get here?
Before the 1900s, most people had a limited amount of garments that were well-taken care of, repaired, and passed on. The average woman would have on average 9 outfits, that she loved and wore week after week. However, after the 1960s, people got more income, and advertising took off, which changed this industry forever. Clothing stopped being a necessity and turned into“keeping up with latest styles”. With higher incomes could afford more luxury products. With the rise in demand, fashion houses that were run by families became dominating international brands listed on the stock exchange. Luxury brands started to cut corners and outsource, using cheaper materials and cheaper labor.
Later on, in the mid-’90s fast fashion was created by fashion retailers like N&M, ZARA, TOPSHOP. They relied on high volumes rather than quality and pushed production and consumption to a completely unsustainable scale. People became obsessed and started to shop daily, not to repeat their looks twice. The wide choice range of trendy clothes with cheap prices created a new fashion category - disposable fashion.
By 2012 in the US, for example, the average person purchased 68 new garments per year. Since those garments were cheap and of low quality, they are thrown into the garbage yearly, resulting in 13.1 million tons of waste per year in the textile landfills. BUT 90% of textiles are recyclable, and yet we are throwing away valuable resources in the world of scarce resources.
The repercussions are devastating. The impact on the environment and the wildlife from our irresponsible production and consumption are destructive.