This is how fashion is rapidly changing our climate
Social media apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook have exploded to new heights. Social media has provided fame and high status to social media influencers. This status offers endless possibilities in the world of marketing and advertising. For example, big TikTok influencers can post Shein races, sometimes worth well over $800. Almost immediately after, the influencer’s fans flocked to Shein to buy, buy and buy again in hopes of being like their idol. Because the phrase “Shein Haul” has become so common in society, we need to investigate consumerism as a global community.
Fast fashion is cheap, accessible and consistent with current clothing trends. Companies like Amazon and Shein have exploded due to its wide range of styles and trends at skeptical prices. Fast fashion often has negative results for our environment. The fast fashion industry is experiencing quiet and rapid changes due to the phenomenon of micro-trends. Micro fashion trends are distinct low-end clothing designs that quickly become unpopular in a short period of time. Ads on social networks are punctuated by sharp marketing strategies aimed at attracting a large audience.
The global fast fashion market has grown due to advancements in marketing, media, and technological developments. Garment companies thrive financially while profiting from the woes of our society. Factory workers internationally and in the United States work in inhumane conditions and experience wage theft. The fashion industry has relied on the exploitation of underpaid workers, many of whom work unreasonably long hours. Many fast fashion brands are also notorious for unethical tactics used in clothing development, such as the use of harmful plastics.
Sixty percent of fabric fibers are now made of synthetics derived from fossil fuels, so when clothes end up in a landfill (about 85% of textile waste in the United States is landfilled or incinerated), they won’t end up in a landfill. will not break down. Several other materials that risk harming the environment include fabrics like nylon, an all-synthetic material. Rayon is another cheap material that you see everywhere; its toxic chemicals harm the environment and factory workers who take precautions before using them. Viscose rayon is the least environmentally friendly type of rayon, but the most widely used because it is the cheapest. According to an article in the New York Times, “the viscose process is the most harmful to the environment due to toxic chemicals and inefficient recycling of said components”.
Consuming our clothes ethically is an immediate way to counter the fast fashion industry and the problems that come with it. From an environmental point of view, a more expensive shirt can save the costs of several cheap shirts. Another way to combat fast fashion is to shop for clothes. Apps like Depop, ThredUp and ASOS Marketplace are great places to start if you prefer online savings.
Buying upcycled or upcycled clothing is also ethical because clothing is created from unwanted clothing or scraps. Although recycled or upcycled clothing tends to be more expensive, it saves the costs of buying more clothing in the future. It also prevents more clothes from being thrown away and collected in our landfills. Sustainability efforts have obviously increased over the past decade since news about our climate has become much more dire.
While many recognize the critical impacts of micro-trends in fast fashion, many are not changing their shopping habits as many may believe they are a minor attribution to our global effects. However, the false reality of this is revealed as our world continually consumes unethical clothing to the detriment of mother nature. Ultimately, we can see that our consumption habits need to change.
Amy Aguayo can be contacted at [email protected]