What is Fast Fashion?

The impact of Fast Fashion on our environment.

We all have heard of Fast Food, but are you familiar with the term Fast Fashion? Instead of just being concerned about our waist size, we should also be questioning our waste profile.

You might not be familiar with the term Fast Fashion, but you do play a small or a larger part of the Fast Fashion Industry.

Fast fashion is described as “low cost clothing collections that mimic current fashion trends.” Fashion trends change incredibly fast, often causing new styles and trends to become obsolete in a matter of weeks.

Think of all the clothes sitting in your wardrobe – unused. That dress you spent less than R150 on because it looked cool for a second, or that top you only wore once before it went out of fashion.

Fast Fashion is produced in shorter and shorter cycles

Fashion cycles are moving faster than ever, the customary 4 seasons, are now over 10. High Street Fashion brands like Zara, Topshop and Gap are bringing out new collections in startling high frequencies. Fast Fashion is mass-produced cheap clothes, attracting consumers to buy more.  More affordable clothing styles designed to be used only for a short while, lead to more purchases and to more waste.
What we don’t realise is that these disposable clothing items damage the environment and the economy. We are more likely to throw away these cheapies than the quality, more pricey clothing we own. The problem is we don’t fully have the ability to handle the disposal, as we are running out of places to out those discarded garments. Also these cheapies often are not worth the re-selling in second-hand stores, as opposed to their more expensive counterparts.

What goes into the production of a cotton shirt?

On Face value, buying these cheaper clothing items seems not so bad. But consider what all goes into the production of an item and what resources are consumed until it is in the store. Creating some awareness around this is important and will probably influence your buying decision.

  1. Cotton is planted and cultivated

Farmers plant their cotton using huge mechanical planters, they plough the fields, need to use water to irrigate the plants, use pesticides to keep crop damaging insects away and eventually the cotton needs to be harvested. All this petrol, water and pesticide use has a negative impact on the environment.

      2. Weaving the cotton and clothing production

The cotton needs to be woven into cloth and then loaded onto planes, trains, trucks and cargo ships and moved between textile finishing facilities. There it is bleached, dyed, chemically treated (for an anti-wrinkle finish or plumped up to be softer, etc.)

  1. The finished cloth is sent to distributors
  2. The garment is produced and then sent to the warehouse
  3. The Fashion items are the distributed to the stores

All these steps involve packaging and transport, using more resources and creating more waste with each step.

How can we consume Fashion responsibly?

The first thing that comes to mind is to buy less. However, this is not always that simple, as we all need to wear clothing and most of us define ourselves through clothing and we want to look good.

We are not saying run around in hand me downs and never buy designer fashion. We are saying think about what you wear and don’t consume mindlessly. It is rewarding when we consume responsible and help to make our planet healthy again. There are many ways for you to look stylish and fashionable. Doing it responsibly, only requires you to be more conscious.

Extend the life cycle of clothing items, by supporting second-hand clothing stores.

If we are looking at the environmental challenges, we should realise that we have to change our consumer behaviour and to be more conscious bout what we buy and wear.

Our aim should be to extend the life cycle of a clothing item, by either looking at your family’s wardrobes or support second-hand Fashion stores, like 2nd Take. Buying at and giving clothing to a second-hand clothing store is the right thing to do. 2nd Take supports the local community, local economy and has an immediate positive impact on the environment, as it cuts out the production and shipping process. The Fashion item goes from one wardrobe, via the store to the next wardrobe.

2nd Take is an upmarket second-hand store that sells top quality and lasting Designer Fashion. These Fashion items are of excellent quality made to last.

So, in closing try and think about your next fashion purchase:

  • Do you really need it or do you have something similar already in your closet?
  • Are you only buying this only because it is on sale – do you really like it?
  • Does someone in your family have a similar item to the one you want to buy?
  • Have you checked your local second-hand store – do they have the item you are looking for?

Everything you do has an impact, try and make it a positive one!

2nd Take Fashion Store infographics - second-hand shopping is the alternative to Fast Fashion

2nd Take is the largest consignment second-hand clothing Franchise group in South Africa with boutique shops in Cape Town and Pretoria, as well as a convenient online store. 2nd Take stocks exclusive designer brands and high street labels, often not available for purchase anywhere else in South Africa.

For further information on 2nd Take, please contact us on 021 434 5878 or e-mail franchise@2ndtake.co.za.

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