Fast Fashion

Some Fast Fashion facts for this week's 1-Minute Climate Snippet. The textile industry generates 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. The average American throws out 81 pounds of clothing a year. It's the second-largest consumer of water, behind agriculture.

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Fast fashion is the term used to describe cheaply-made clothing that moves quickly from the runway to stores to take advantage of trends. Fast fashion differs from traditional fashion because the garments are quasi-disposable and are not designed to last, they oftentimes are only worn once or twice.

According to a report published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the textile industry generates 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. This equates to 10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

Not only is this industry extremely carbon-intensive, but it also promotes a waste linear model that leads to more clothes in landfills. The average American will throw out 81 pounds of clothing every year. Alongside this waste, the fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water, just behind agriculture. In the US we have increased our clothing purchases over the past 15 years by 50% but we wear clothes half as long.

The fast fashion industry is also home to countless human rights infractions. The majority of these companies outsource their labor overseas and do not pay liveable wages nor do they prioritize safe/equitable working conditions.

So, what’s the appeal? These clothes are oftentimes significantly cheaper, and faster, and allow consumers to take advantage of what’s in “style” without paying the designer price tag. This raises the question of how do we hold the systems of production accountable for the harm they are causing?

Many companies are taking it upon themselves to address it at the source. Check out businesses like Sourcing Playground, Queen of Raw, Tsouls, Lucy & Yak, Patagonia, Poshmark, Curtsy, Apparel Impact, and many more.

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