Fashion vs Sustainability

The fashion industry is a multi- trillion-dollar industry, that has created thousands of jobs but has also produced 10 percent of humanity`s carbon emissions as well as the second biggest consumer of earths water. Land is destroyed by chemicals used to process textiles and much of the land can`t grow back after farming from degrading the soil. Materials like rayon are made from trees, increase deforestation. Large factories where clothes are mass produced pump chemicals into the air. It has been said by many companies that organic cotton is better for the plant however farming cotton still uses a lot of water.

Another big reason for the destruction by the fashion industry is materialism and cooperate greed. People are buying 5 times more than in the 1980s. There is a recent idea that people need an exorbitant amount of clothes they don`t need for practical use but for pleasure. Fashion companies market a new style of clothes every few months to increase profits, making consumers discard clothes that are in good shape. Consumers are driven to fast fashion because it is affordable. Fast fashion also frequently utilizes horrible resources like sweat shops in other countries. Sweat shops have been known to have horrible sometimes dangerous working conditions, and grossly underpay. With big companies producing new lines every few weeks, it puts a lot of pressure on smaller businesses to keep up. Unfortunately, fast fashion has more finically power and a larger costumer base than companies focused on creating sustainable products.

Sustainable products have become increasingly popular among consumers.  New brands are using recycled materials. One swimsuit brand is making swimwear out of fishing nets. Another brand, Green Toys, makes children`s toys out of recycled milk jugs. Thrifting has also become very popular among millennials. However, I am concerned that the idea of sustainable fashion is just the latest fashion trend and won`t matter in a few years.

Environmental conservation is important to me; however, my career path of choice is an industry that is harming the environment. As a fashion enthusiast, I enjoy shopping. It has been difficult to find a balance between indulging in my shopping habits or straining my self from giving in to materialistic behaviors. In an country of fast fashion, it is hard not to give in to the low priced trend new items. One alternative I have enjoyed is thrift shopping for used items. One bad habit I think everyone as grow custom to is impulse buying. Companies place small cheap items at the front of the store so customers will buy them while waiting in line. This is an example of when it is important to be mindful when shopping. When shopping I try to look for timeless pieces, that won`t go out of style when the new trend emerges. One thing I still struggle with, is getting rid of old clothes. I am worried something will come back in style or I will need it for a future outfit. For me, it is hard to know when to go through my closet and clean it out.

One concept to being mindful in fashion is defining your style. Figuring out your style can help improving mindful buying and finding items that mean something to you. Picking a clothes scheme for your clothes based on what looks good on you and your skin tone is a good way to go about it. Setting guidelines for yourself when it comes to fashion, is a good way to prevent impulse buying in stores and keep your closet from overflowing. Another personal method to mindful shopping is determining what essential items you need before shopping and only getting exactly what you need. Clothing items for me need to be comfortable, timeless, durable, and look nice and clean. Online shopping, although convenient, is risky. Since the start of Covid, online shopping is more popular compared to in person shopping. Online shopping gives people easy access to buy whatever they want without trying it on. This has encouraged impulsive behavior to buy without care or consideration to fashion`s value or sustainability.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse to sustainable fashion. It has spread information about sustainable fashion and what brands incorporate ecofriendly products and which don`t. Through apps like Tik Tok consumers can easily hear about a new brand or new way to recycle old clothes. Through another app like Pinterest, people can share inspiration of upcycled clothing. Social media has also been a tool for social activism which as becoming increasingly significant to people including the fight for a sustainable future. However, on the other side, social media has also been a source for marketing encouraging its audience to further support and fund fast fashion companies. It also allows celebrities and influencers to push their brand endorsed products without proper information on the product or its materials.

I think upcycling fashion needs to become popular and utilized more in the industry. Fashion trends die faster than the durability of clothes. I have seen pieces that were created to look as if they were created from different deconstructed pieces but were brand new. I think the concept of upcycling is suited to the current style and desires of the current generation. Upcycling is sustainable is has become increasingly popular. It is also affordable and uses old unworn clothes. Another method to being conscious about sustainable fashion is by renting clothes. Bag Borrow or Steal is an online website that rents out designer bags and a discounted price. Many quality designer bags are made from animal skins. Increasing renting items would help decrease the demand for animal skins. There are also apps and sites for clothes swapping. This allows people to regularly keep up with trends without contributing to fast fashion. I think sustainable fashion could become very popular among the current generation if people were educated on these cheap, easy methods to help save natural resources. Through learning about sustainability, I feel better about majoring in fashion and going into the industry.

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