As sustainability in fashion is becoming a trend —and a good one, might I add — it's natural for people to go on a wardrobe rampage and start throwing out everything they own that has labels which read stores such as, Forever21 and Topshop. Social media has been the recent platform for educating people of all ages about the harms of fast fashion and most are starting to jump on the bandwagon. I'm not always a fan of social media trends, because they're not 100% reflective of those who care about the actual cause, rather, they just want to be "trendy;" this has been emulated with sustainability.
During Fashion Revolution week, which took place in late April, I was going through my most-used platforms which consist of, Twitter and Instagram, to see all that was going on both good and bad during this week. More than once, I noticed posts with images of garbage bags with captions that read something along the lines of, "Three garbage bags later and my wardrobe is free from harm." While your wardrobe itself may not be harmed with toxic clothing, throwing away your pieces in the name of sustainability is incredibly redundant. As someone who is very knowledgeable about fashion sustainability, I was happy that more were starting to take a stand against fast fashion, yet enraged when I realized how uneducated people really were.
SAY SAYONARA TO THE PAST
I'm pretty sure all of us went through the Forever 21 phase, where we would take countless trips to the mall with all of our friends and embark on shopping sprees. We would drop anywhere close to $200 on styles that would last us only a month or two. The fashion conscious movement didn't become popular until just last year, around the time when, The True Cost, was released. Before then, information regarding the subject wasn't as public as it is now, leaving fashion lovers and clothing consumers uneducated about sustainability. Being aware of sustainability in fashion isn't about what you used to do, rather, what you're doing now in order to help the planet. So when you're looking through your closet, don't dwell on the fact that you may have several pieces from fast fashion retailers. Instead, focus on what you're doing and could be doing now in order to help the planet and revive the fashion revolution.
THE GIFT OF THE PRESENT
We are gifted with the ability to make changes in our everyday lives. Each day is a new day, which allows for us to change our actions and the way that we think. In sustainability, it's important to know how to live sustainable lives. For starters, do not throw away the pieces that you currently own that are from fast fashion retailers. Since the garments were made with hazardous chemicals during their creation, the throwing out of these pieces will only cause dangerous pollutants to be emitted into the air. This is not only incredibly harmful to our environment, but it's also harmful to our bodies. On top of the pollution that throwing away clothing causes, if disposed of improperly — via garbage cans versus recycling bins — it causes landfills to be built up. While you may think throwing away your fast fashion clothing will help the movement in addition to creating awareness, it's actually the opposite. You're better off keeping the fast fashion clothing that you currently own in order to help the environment.
But nonetheless, I understand that it may make you feel guilty, keeping the fast fashion pieces you had purchased in the past. One environmentally friendly way to dispose of your clothing is to donate them. Over 500,000 people in the United States alone are homeless. Just by donating your clothing to shelters around the country (and world), you could be giving warmth to people who otherwise couldn't afford it. Additionally, donating your clothing to stores such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army, can help those who are lower income and want to purchase nice things to wear. While at first you may have looked at your past fast fashion purchases as negative, they can actually make a positive impact now.
When determining what to do with the toxic clothing that you currently own, make sure you think long and hard about the after effects and whether they will be of benefit, or of harm.
THE FUTURE IS CLOSER THAN YOU MAY THINK
What happened in the past is forgiven, what we are learning and doing in the present will make a change and what we will do in the future can make a lasting difference. Going into the years to come, there are a few ways that we as clothing consumers can support the fashion revolution.
- Stop shopping so much: Believe it or not, you don't need to shop for new clothing every new season of every new year. By purchasing pieces that are timeless and of good quality, you will learn to love your wardrobe for eternity and learn how to create fresh and contemporary outfits out of your lifetime pieces.
- Take fast fashion out of your shopping hit-list: Another way to support the fashion revolution is to stop supporting fast fashion retailers. There are so many amazing stores out there which promote sustainable and ethical fashion, that there's no point in shopping at the ones that hurt the environment and humanity. Not to mention, these stores create garments that are timeless and will be trendy for a lifetime.
- Continue to educated yourself and others: There are so many films, T.V. shows and articles to read about sustainable fashion. When you continue to educate yourself and spread the word via social media or by word-of-mouth, you're helping to change this toxic industry. In just under a year, we have already seen significant changes, but there's always room for improvement.
The future is where fashion will see the biggest change. So continue to read, continue to share and continue to make an even bigger change as fashion revolutionaries.
Are you new to the fashion revolution? If so, I have written so many other posts regarding this subject. They're easy reads and very informative; you can never stop increasing your awareness and knowledge! If you're already a fashion revolution activist, let me know in the comments below, I would love to (virtually) cheers you for all that you're doing to help our planet.