Written by Theertha, Teen Volunteer
Halifax Public Libraries' Teen Blog is written by and for teens. Discover more posts here., opens a new window
To start, what is fast fashion?
Fast fashion is a term used to describe garments that are cheaply priced and cheaply produced. These clothes copy the latest catwalk styles and brands, mimicking trends seen on the runway. They are quickly produced and then sent to stores, maximizing the most current trends.
Unfortunately, fast fashion is one of the biggest causes of pollution in the world. Large quantities of greenhouse gases, the depletion of non-renewable resources and sweat-shop environments are all present in the production of fast-fashion garments. The resulting impacts on the Earth is huge, which is why it is so important to try and reduce the use of fast fashion in our own lives.
Major environmental and social impacts
- As mentioned above, large amounts of greenhouse gases are released which can cause severe environmental and health issues. Greenhouse gases trap heat, affecting various species in arid climates. Extreme weather, wildfires, and droughts are also results of greenhouse gases.
- Depletion of non-renewable resources.
- Garments from fast fashion are typically made from nylon, acrylic, and polyester. These materials, made from petroleum, take around a 1000 years to biodegrade.
- More than 60 million individuals work in this industry. Five million of them are based in Asia, and more than 80% are women: usually from rural and young backgrounds. “Sweat-shop” environments are highly present.
Tips on how to avoid and reduce your fast fashion footprint
- Recycle or repurpose old clothing.
- Donate gently used or new clothing.
- Support local brands! Some great ones include East Coast Lifestyle and New Scotland Clothing Co.
- Educate yourself, your friends and family on environmentally friendly materials. This will help you figure out if a brand or garment is sustainable.
- Quality over quantity! Avoid cheap garments made from synthetic fabrics — they will not last long.
The impact that fast fashion has on our planet is vast. From extreme climate changes to socially unacceptable work environments, fast fashion is destroying the Earth. It is important to do our individual part to decrease the environmental and social impacts that fast fashion presents.
Reusing clothing, donating, and supporting local brands are all great ways to reduce the spread of fast fashion! As always, it is important to do your own research on brands and companies to see if they use ethical means and are sustainable.
Looking for inspiration? Check out these websites I used to source information:
The University of Queensland, opens a new window
About the writer
Hi! My name is Theertha and I’m a grade 12 student with future goals of becoming a paediatrician. I enjoy spending time with friends and family and love volunteering.