You: “I love your outfit, where did you get it from? “
Most people are repulsed by the thought of wearing something secondhand, yet I never grasped this because the invention of the washing machine lets us wash clothes. According to Stephanie Osmanski on Green Matters, “20% of pollution comes from clothes that cannot break down.” Fast fashion is how stores produce clothes so fast to keep up with the latest trends, and it is also cheap fashion. Fast fashion uses the cheapest materials; therefore you can pay $5 for a t-shirt. Stated by Eileen Fisher, a high-end fashion designer, the fashion industry “is the second largest polluter in the world.” Simply, fast fashion equals global warming. Reported by Lindsey Reid in 2003, “15.1 million tons of textile waste was created” and dumped at a landfill— sitting there giving off methane.
If global warming does not strike your fancy, surely human rights violations will. People have died from dangerous and inhumane working conditions. They work long hours in horrible conditions for around $67 a month. Would you work for $67 a month? Could you live off $67 a month? Probably not. Let’s talk about options: take the un out of unsustainable fashion, and it becomes sustainable. It is very simple— you can thrift or buy from sustainable fashion brands. Yes, sustainable fashion costs more because they make their clothes in the United States and pay their workers more money. If that is not an option for you, reuse your clothes. Do not throw them out every time a new trend comes around. Trends die, style does not. Some people like to make arguments that if you shop at thrift stores, you are still wearing fast fashion. Yes, at the end of the day you are using clothes that once were fast fashion, but you are giving them new life. Every year we buy clothes that we do not need, we did not wear and we never returned. Stop doing this; reuse and recycle your clothes. After you’re done with those items, trade the clothes in and do it all over again. You will constantly have a new wardrobe without breaking the bank. I will leave you with one more alternative: buying from small business owners. Small business owners do not make large quantities of clothing in factories; they make the clothes themselves which means less resources being used.
Would you work for $67 a month? Could you live off $67 a month? Probably not.
Instead of buying a new pair of jeans because the zipper broke, get the zipper repaired.
You told me you loved those jeans, so get them fixed.
All that I ask is you try. Come shop with me at a thrift store, and I promise you will not regret it. Let’s do this.
Let’s change this world together.
Let’s make our carbon footprint smaller.
Let’s care about our future generations and not be selfish.
Let’s stop wasting money on clothes we do not need.
Let’s do this together; let’s change the world.
And, let’s create a better tomorrow.
Ariana Gonzalez is a student at West Chester University. AG762724@wcupa.edu