The United States textile recycling industry recorded a whopping 2.5 billion pounds of textile waste per year.
In the world where people wake up with not new resolutions but trends and hashtags to be followed, where a Monday morning which is the designated aftermath of a hangover but you still got to show up at the office, now the parameters as to how good you pull off the Monday Morning Mood depends upon the chic professional casual look that you rock with shady shades that help do what your concealer couldn’t. There are seven days in a week and God forbid if you must repeat one attire on any of those days, it would be a disaster. Peer pressure has taken a back seat today and what we witness more is the socio-cultural pressure to always look new. Your virtual world of social media would look down upon you if you repeat that same blouse once again. Although on the same social media platform we would not think twice to double tap on the posts which mention a big “No fucks to give” or circulating hashtags which promote the aforesaid attitude, but we at the same time would never upload two pictures in a row that are in the same attire. Why? Because of what your so-called followers would think? No wonder what happens to the nonchalant attitude then. The process seems very exciting because you know you will be able to shop new trends at your nearest stores or online and get that oomph going, but have you ever stopped to think what happens after that?
What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion is the process of turning new design ideas that you can watch on the ramps and models showcasing brilliant fabrics and clothing ideas which are going to be on the market and around the streets for that season. Now all the high-end designer wear of course does not come cheap, so how are you going to get that runway look for this upcoming season? This is where fast fashion comes in play, not the same patented designs but the ones inspired by the runway are mass produced. Clothing brands like Zara or H&M have this expedited process of producing new clothes. It only takes somewhere from 14 to 21 days for the whole cycle to complete. From inception of the concept to sale. This mass production of cheap affordable clothing just like fast food can probably leading to a massacre just that it isn’t visible on social media yet, so you aren’t aware of it. The victim here is just one, our mother earth.
Production: One of the leading fabrics used to make clothing today is polyester and this so-called magic material is a petroleum-based fiber. This is again in turn manufactured from fossil fuels and thanks to the burgeoning fast fashion industry, the amount of natural resources used to create these synthetic fibers is outrageous. These are being used more and more in the fashion industry because the time taken to process these is nothing as compared to the natural materials and can be formed into anything. They provide a variety of textures which can be used in myriad forms. That were the pros, but in order to provide more quantity in less time, the quality has been compromised far more than you can imagine. The use and throw are not just limited to utensils, the newer clothes we buy the more we discard the older ones, and this is the challenge. Petroleum based fabrics are non-biodegradable
Impact: On washing, polyester clothing sheds fibers which go into the water streams and ultimately increase the amount of micro plastics in the oceans. The United States textile recycling industry recorded a whopping 2.5 billion pounds of textile waste per year. Now you can imagine the magnitude of what your 10-dollar shirt can do to the planet. The impacts are not just adverse, they are already way out of hand and unless we take immediate steps to curb this trend of fast fashion, there will only be a point where all we can do is regret. No amounts of likes and posts on the social media will be able to undo this damage. The textile industry alone has been recorded to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than the aviation and shipping industries combined! First, natural resources are used to produce the fibers which are then dyed using chemicals and of course colossal amounts of water is used and rendered toxic in the process. In order to cut the cost of producing the clothes these fast fashion brands have completely neglected the cost of disposing it.
Since the things once bought are never going to be discarded is sheer stupidity. What is needed is an overhauling of the product cycle so that instead of producing waste these clothes can be reused. Trashing a piece of cloth just because one loose stitching or a loose button is not a status symbol, it is digging up your own grave. If we keep endorsing this fast fashion at the rapid rate, there is a very high possibility that there might be no wood to make coffins and we’d be buried in our own textile trash that we help create. Let us take steps so that is does not has to come to this while we still can. Upcycle your clothes, lend and borrow stuff so that it can be used more, and they have a longer shelf life. In all honesty, just liking and sharing an Instagram post on the current environmental conditions is not going to help improve them. Ask yourself are you doing even a little bit to improve it? You don’t always need an influencer on your social media to make you realize where we are headed and they in turn indorse some other brand, so you are huddled at the next store you watched online.
Ask yourself, is the planet that you live in worth less than a few double taps on a virtual platform? Will the virtual world provide you a home when you destroy the one you live in right now?