Fast fashion is one of the largest and most profitable industries in the world. As we now know, it is also one of the most harmful to the environment. Fashion is one of the most resource intensive industries, requiring both natural and human resources. To make one pair of denim jeans 3,00 litres of water are required, that is more water than the average person will consume in a year!
Pretty Little Thing, Missguided and BooHoo.com are some of the most well-known fast fashion brands, alongside the likes of offline stores like Penney’s. Most items of clothing sold by these brands is made from polyester and other man-made fabrics, these fabrics are very difficult to recycle so usually end up in the landfill. According to The Waste Resources and Action Programme around £140m worth of clothing ends up in the landfill each year. Microplastics found in clothes that are made from these man-made fabrics end up in the ocean after each wash, damaging the eco-system and animals living in the water.
In the last few years we have seen the rise in popularity of sustainable fashion, more consumers are buying vintage, second-hand and thrifting. Depop, an app where you can buy and sell second-hand clothing and accessories has grown in popularity since its development in 2011, as of June 2019 there were 13 million users on the app. Sites such as Pretty Little Thing are also having an effect on the traditional fashion industry, where previously there were two collections per year these sites have began selling 52 mini collections per year, a new collection every week. Many of these collections are dupes for clothes often seen on influencers like Kim Kardashian, who in 2019 won a lawsuit against Missguided to the tune of $2.7m for knocking off clothing she wore and using her name to generate sales.
While many bloggers and influencers continue to do sponsorships and work with fast fashion brands, Keelin Moncrieff (@kee_mon) has been outspoken in her criticisms of these brands and bloggers, stating the environmental impact of the online shopping industry. Molly Parsons (@mouldyparsnips) and Tara Stewart (@tarastewartdj ) are also advocates for more sustainable consumption, the latter of the two hosts a podcast called Dirty Laundry where she discusses all things sustainable fashion.
As consumers, we must all make an effort to reduce our fast fashion purchases and make purchasing second-hand and vintage clothing, or even better, revamp our old clothes to make them wearable and stylish. By practising these we can develop more our own individual styles as opposed to everyone wearing the same Missguided or BooHoo dress on a night out.