Written by: Lusanda Luthuli
Fast fashion and its effects on the environment has been a hot topic regarding ethical fashion. The amount of pollution and waste involved in the production of fashion is something that needs to be taken seriously by not only the corporates who mass produced and fund these garments but also consumers.
Fashion’s impact on the environment can easily go unnoticed simply because discourse around climate change can be overly centered around the carbon emission or planes, ships, vehicles and the production of food. A Business Insider article by Morgan McFall Johnson points out that 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year and washing some types of clothes sends thousands of bits of plastic into the ocean.
Many designers like Xzavier Zulu, who collaborated with Levis, pride themselves in upcycling. BeforeUs has also started to follow the ethical wave by upcycling sweatshirts and customizing it with tie dye. Upcycling and customizing go hand-in-hand, cuttin up fabrics and painting etc. are just some of the ways fashion creatives express themselves with upcycling.
The fashion industry is also the second largest water consumer of the world’s water supply. Water is needed for the dyeing and the finishing of garments and it takes a staggering 2,700 litres to produce ONE t-shirt. The production of clothing is higher than it’s ever been. According to Mckinsey and Company, the production of clothing has doubled since the start of the 2000s. Supply and demand can be the culprit for this, people’s desire to purchase new garments and the flyest/latest pieces contributes to fast fashion’s impact on the environment.
People can still purchase name brands and other brands that have such a large impact on pop culture, but don’t necessarily have to do it via retail (malls or online) there’s plenty of deadstock of brands like Adidas, Nike, Carhatt and Vans all of which are available to thrift on Instagram and the streets. To quote (kinda) my fashion designer homie, Luvuyo Shoba “We don’t shop at the mall anymore b,” this dope attitude can help us young fashion lovers to appreciate thrifting a lot more and incorporating vintage garments into our everyday looks.