Ah, fast-fashion. It’s a term that is becoming more and more popular. It’s so trendy that the term only exists in English for the moment.
On a more serious note, it is a business model that came to America in the early 90’s and is still going strong today. It is often compared to fast food, as these two concepts share many elements in their way of working.
But when we talk about fast-fashion, what exactly are we referring to?
Generally speaking, fast-fashion is the mass production of inexpensive and fashionable clothes. The goal is simple: to encourage the purchase of large quantities of low-quality clothing, only to replace them a few weeks or months later. This business model is so well established that we almost don’t realize it exists. We accept it, we maintain it, we make it last.
This is what we will try to explain in this article:
Sustainable fashion, sustainable style
Changing your style frequently is not recommended. It may be cool when you are 16, but as an adult nothing screams clothing insecurity more than a man who changes his wardrobe every 3 months. Buying nice, quality clothes not only ensures that you’ll be stylish for months and years to come, but it also shows that you’re confident and not afraid to express yourself.
Clothes that fit beautifully and are purchased with a purpose in mind makes for more informed choices and the different pieces purchased can be mixed together, multiplying the style options available to us. A t-shirt with an intricate pattern or a big logo in the middle is not the most versatile piece of clothing, so it is often the first on the list of pieces that accumulate in the back of the closet once the season is over.
Neutral colors like black, white and gray are a step in the right direction. Unlike complex patterns and bold colors, you can’t go wrong with these. The same goes for jeans: no matter what the trend is, a great pair of jeans is versatile and timeless.
You could see it coming, but it is obvious that fast fashion has a considerable impact on the environment. A very big impact, even. According to the UN Environment Program, the fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions. To put that in perspective, that’s more than all international flights and shipments combined!
Industry is also the second largest consumer of water, generating almost 20% of wastewater, in addition to half a million tons of microfibers in the ocean each year. Ouch.
The consumer fuels these statistics year after year, buying on average 60% more clothes than 15 years ago. This is not due to a sudden increase in purchasing power or an instantaneous deterioration in the wardrobes of hundreds of thousands of people: we buy more, more often. It’s as simple as that.
But hey. We are not here to criticize the consumer society; other people who are better informed and have greater credibility than us are here to do so. On the other hand, the field in which we are experts is custom-made clothing. And it’s a good thing that this one is part of the solution to put some order in this chaotic industry.
Custom-made: a good start
It is obvious that one cannot abandon an entire consumption model overnight. Besides, it has to be there for a reason; accessibility has never been so high and the choice is as varied as you want it to be. And it doesn’t cost much, either. It’s a reality we have to live with.
Made-to-measure clothing offers many benefits, we even discussed them in another article.
Without elaborating too much on this, we could summarize it in a few points:
- The cut adapts perfectly to your morphology
- You get the best possible customer experience
- Your clothes are personalized from A to Z to be at your own image
The last element is particularly interesting; we are no longer talking about simply dressing by social convention, but rather about integrating what we wear as part of our identity.
Detaching yourself from fast fashion: some tips
So you’ve woken up with extra energy and made the decision to clean out your closet and get rid of your unused clothes. But where do you start? Should you throw everything in the garbage? Of course not! There are many options available to you:
Reduce your consumption
It’s almost too obvious a solution, but it doesn’t make it any less legitimate! Making more thoughtful choices when it comes to buying a new piece is a step in the right direction. As mentioned earlier in the article, choosing versatile pieces that can be worn in many different combinations and contexts is a great way to reduce your textile consumption. It’s not only good for the environment, but also for your wallet!
Donate to a thrift store
Thrift stores are the perfect place to give your clothes a second life. In addition to allowing other people to get clothes at a low price, you contribute to the environment. According to the Canadian Waste Reduction Week, 10 million tons of textile waste are thrown away every year, while 95% of it could be reused or recycled.
Recycling and upcycling
Many organizations offer textile recovery services for reuse. In addition to reducing the carbon footprint from textiles, many organizations employ people in need, such as Montreal-based organism Le Support, which promotes the social and professional inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.
In addition, there is “upcycling”, which is a service that more and more designers are offering. What is upcycling? It is the principle of recovering used, outdated or unsold clothes to create new pieces. Although more expensive than what you’ll find at H&M, buying overcycled clothing allows you to support local designers and to have a unique style.
We hope you now know more about fast fashion, its impacts and what you can do to reduce its effects. While there is no magic solution to this issue, it is by doing our part that we will move in the right direction!
Our last piece of advice: add a few custom-made clothes to your wardrobe, your style and your ecological footprint will thank you!