Sustainable Fashion Impacts World at Large


Outfits styled by Wesley Jividen, Jadyn Borbonus, Halie Nicholson, and Abi Dominick.

Throughout the years, our fashion sense has changed drastically. We’ve gone from bell-bottoms to combat boots to leather jackets and back to bell-bottoms again. As you can see, we’ve been through many phases. However, did you realize the amount of pain our earth goes through every time you buy a new fashion statement? Most people don’t consider the effects of fast fashion because it’s not talked about very often. As young people, it’s not easy for us to know what’s going on behind big companies like Amazon, Shein, Urban Outfitters, and the many others that harm the planet. Many people shop at these businesses because they are advertised to have the “cutest clothes” and “coolest trends.” However, there are better ways to shop while still having a good style. 

What goes on behind factory doors…

The fast fashion industry quite literally wastes a ton of material.  According to reports from 2013, there were around 15.1 million tons of waste just from unused textiles. These end up in landfills instead of being reused. Not only is there an excessive amount of fabrics being used, but water as well.  It takes at least 2,700 liters of water to make a singular t-shirt. With brands producing such a large quantity of clothing each year, it takes away from our water supply. Most fast fashion companies also create an unethical environment for their employees. They get underpaid to work harsh hours and some may even use child labor. With these working conditions and mass production, the clothing itself has lower quality for cheaper prices. They end up being worn down very quickly, adding to the waste. Although the clothes may be cute in theory, it is not worth spending your money to support its production. 


What’s the alternative?

There are many places where you can find nice clothes while staying sustainable. It’s always great to check out local small businesses because a lot of them like to find a way to help our planet. Some larger brands to look into include CHNGE, Patagonia, United By Blue, Afends, and Adidas. Because the materials that are used for sustainable fashion are more expensive to produce, it makes it more expensive to buy. This may be a reason for people to hesitate when shopping, but there is a cheaper and easier way to be eco-friendly.

Thrift shopping has become very popular with our generation, but you may not realize how good it is for the earth. People who donate their used clothes to stores such as Goodwill or Salvation Army help reduce the amount of clothing being thrown away each day. With styles coming back from the 60s-90s and early 200s, going to the thrift store makes it really easy to find unique pieces from those decades. The prices are also irresistible. Because the clothes have already been used, you’re able to buy a whole new wardrobe for under $50. A lot of thrift stores are also non-profit organizations that donate to the community, so not only are you contributing to our environment, but you’re supporting a good cause.

It’s almost impossible to be 100% sustainable when shopping around. Considering that it’s so hard to determine whether or not a brand has good intentions, it’s important to be careful where you buy from. Even the littlest amount of effort from everyone will help keep a healthy world for future generations. Keep in mind that caring about the environment is cool!