Most of us are aware of our plastic consumption, we recycle, we turn off the lights when we can. But do we truly pay attention to our garment consumption? The truth is we don’t think of our clothing for what it is, plastic. Most of our garments are made of synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyester, spandex. All of which are plastic materials and can take up to 200 years to decompose. Think about the last time you cleaned out your closet. Those giant bags of clothes. Did you donate them all? What about the stained or torn items? With clothing so cheap and readily available why not just throw them out and buy new clothes? The ones in our closet are probably so last season anyway! With up to 52 “Micro Seasons” on the catwalk it’s no wonder we always feel like we are catching up to trends. And because we are always trying to catch up, we are constantly consuming. Why not when you can purchase that sweater you have been eyeing at H&M for less than the meal you got at the mall food court. So now we are in a cycle of consumption that is so ingrained in our culture that it is hard to escape. Encouraging these mega companies like H&M, Old Navy, Zara, to continue these cycles and create cheaper and cheaper garments.
We don’t know much about “Fast Fashion” yet. We don’t have the data. What we do know is the effects we see. We see microplastics in our drinking water, we see piles of clothes in landfills and on shorelines, we see women and children working for pennies in unsafe factories making clothes for billion dollar companies. We see the effects of our actions but we have been choosing to ignore them.
With 2021 on the horizon we are all thinking of our resolutions and goals. I challenge you to truly think about your wardrobe and keep researching. We all have different limits to what we can do to purchase sustainably. Slow down and think about what you can do to be sustainable within your limits.
Here are a few resources to help you get started on your journey toward sustainable consumerism.