Over time, fast fashion has led to fabric mountains, and piles of clothing that will never be worn again. These piles are the result of brands like H&M and Zara keeping up with ever-changing styles. Up until now, the fashion industry has been unaccountable for its unsustainable manufacturing methods and materials.
In the present day, fashion is coming face-to-face with a more cautious market; consumers are conscious of sustainability.
Before fast fashion, clothes and designs came out every season, not every month. Designers were praised for their creativity and innovative use of fabric. Clothes were made of good, long-lasting materials. Before fast fashion, fashion had a higher value. A huge majority of the younger generation is trapped in the fast fashion cycle in conjunction to a Forbes claim that “69% of millennials buy clothes for reasons beyond basic necessity.”1
The average person buys 60% more clothing every year and keeps items about half as long as 15 years ago.2 Despite this, people have become more aware of unsustainable and unethical shopping, and are trying to do better. According to ThredUp, “More than 1 in 3 Gen Z’ers will buy second hand clothes as of 2019 and 74% of 18-29-year-olds prefer to buy from eco-conscious brands.”3
Locally, two first-year university students, sisters Maya and Maggy Omrani, are using their skills to build a sustainable gym fashion brand as up and coming ethical designers. The duo started out as fitness gurus, inspiring peers to embrace a healthy lifestyle. After some time in the gym, the girls noticed a trend. “We bought so much GymShark and Lululemon which we would throw out maybe in a year or two simply because [we] didn’t like wearing the same outfits for over two years.”
As a fashion design student, Maya learned that most active wear contains either nylon or polyester. These materials are either impossible or incredibly difficult to recycle. She’s become aware of how constantly purchasing gym clothes contributes to the mountains of clothes that only worsen our climate. “Our final goal is to bring fashion to the gym in a way that’s not harming our environment,” Maggy Omrani said. They have chosen to reduce their carbon footprint and bring sustainability to an everyday component of their lives by repurposing the active wear they already own and combining it to make their own brand.
This passionate approach is not limited to the sisters and their brand. It encompasses sustainable fashion as a whole. There are many more methods of incorporating sustainable fashion into everyday life. Clothing swaps,4 second hand or vintage stores, minimalism, and shopping for slow, vegan, local fashion are some of the several ways consumers can make sustainable changes to their shopping habits. Slow fashion produces less but better-quality clothes.
Shoppers can make fashion sustainable by working together to encourage and promote mindful shopping. They can shed light to the smaller, local, sustainable brands as opposed to the popular fast fashion brands.
According to MillennialMarketing.com, “Almost 50% of millennials would be more willing to make a purchase from a company if their purchase supports a cause.”5 Let that cause be sustainable fashion. Let that cause be one with the best interests for planet Earth. Let that cause have a positive effect on your carbon footprint. The antidote for fast fashion is change and the force behind this is everyday people. Change begins with the consumer.
1 Ferguson, Sarah. “UNICEF USA BrandVoice: Keeping Children And Schools Safe Protects Us All.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, March 30, 2020.
2 LeBlanc, Rick. “Textile and Garment Recycling Facts and Figures.” The Balance Small Business. The Balance Small Business, November 4, 2019.
3 REINHART, JAMES. “ICYMI: Used Is Taking Over! Check Out Our 2019 Resale …” ThredUp. Accessed March 21, 2020.
4 Birkner, Cherie. “WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE FASHION?” Sustainable Fashion Matterz. Accessed March 10, 2020.
5 Millenial Marketing. JEFF FROMM. Accessed March 15, 2020.