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Fashion Forward Fallacy

Updated: Jul 27, 2022


Runway models at a fashion show

When you hear of someone being fashion forward, what do you think of? Someone wearing the latest trends? Someone well put together? What if we add an elemental idea to the term and add being environmentally conscientious advocate to the catchphrase and what we get is a way to turn around climate change while artfully dressing. We don't need anymore "fast fashion" because it's effects on the environment are anything but fast. Slow to break down, it creates on average, 92 million tonnes of material waste across the globe annually and accounts for 20% of all global waste. According to keepbritaintidy.org , 10 000 articles of clothing are being sent to landfill every five minutes. It's not only what's dumped into landfills that's the problem either. The amount of raw materials it takes to produce these items is staggering. Items don't always land in landfills. Beaches are entangled with the waste, affecting shore birds, and marine life. When we think in these terms, fast fashion is really slow fashion being behind the times when it comes to sustainable living and caring for the planet.


 

The Human Cost

Child labourer


The fast fashion industry is one of the worst industries for human and workers rights. The majority of the workers are women accounting for 80% of the workforce where 98% of workers receive less than a living wage. Most garments are produced on foreign soil far away from our view, where workers rights and safety standards are subpar. Let us not forget the fashion factory that collapsed in Bangladesh in 2013. An unsafe building and 1134 souls were lost, making our clothes. In other places, workers can spend 14-18 hour days where the median salary is only $340/month. It's also estimated that 168 million children are child labourers, and garments are made to wear down quickly so that more and more garments are sold adding a diabolical twist.

But, what do we wear then? Not everyone can afford a tailor, or even quality made clothing and I hardly think potato sacks would cut the cloth.

Potato sack race


 


Think Thrift


Millions of tons of clothing are donated and diverted to thrift stores each year. And why not? Trends are always coming back around and not even new trends look good on everyone anyway. Many items have plenty of life still in them, keeping them out of our landfills. There is a small underground of people who seek out vintage clothing in particular, finding and making their own style frugally and eco consciously. Thrift isn't always not for profit either. You can find many mom and pop shops that specialize in new to you garb like kathleenswears.com catering to the curvy woman. The price is usually right so if alterations are needed, the cost would not be prohibitive, lending some work to our dwindling sewing and tailoring shops. Or, if you're handy with a sewing machine, you can completely change the style of a garment and make something old into something new. It's an artform in my opinion. One that we should learn to appreciate more.


 

The Milk and Honey


When we think thrift, we not only reduce a major polluting force in our world, but we stop exploiting the children and women that do not have the same protections our westernized society provides. We also stimulate the economy in our own local communities, by employing workers under our protections, and providing goods to our community members at discounted prices and who doesn't love a deal!? Thrifting is a win win win. So next time you want to go to the mall, make an adventure of thrifting for the perfect outfit at your local thrift store instead and see what you can make new to you. Break the fashion forward fallacy and embrace being an environmental conscientious advocate while flashing your unique style.







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