“Buy less, choose well.” -Vivienne Westwood
Fashion Versus Safety Dilemma
Fashion is a good thing. The feeling of looking good in itself is good. Women get charmed and feel happy when they wear their favorite outfit. When fashion comes to their mind, they think in advance, they buy in advance and they love to dress for the moment. It’s an essential part of life for many if not most women. I mean, who doesn’t want to look good, whether it’s a woman or a man.
Fashion is a powerful form of art. It’s movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be. It is a way to express yourself.
Lot of time is spent almost every day for the desire of looking good. Many iconic celebrities in the fashion and entertainment world have made some powerful statements about style and fashion.
“I like my money right where I can see it…hanging in my closet.” —Carrie Bradshaw
“I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.” —Ralph Lauren
“I know what women want. They want to be beautiful.” —Valentino Garavani
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” —Rachel Zoe
“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” —Bo Derek
I think, fashion does not mean buying expensive clothes or more clothes, as fast fashion suggests. It does not mean following each and every trend in the market. That’s like letting the market trends own you. Style and fashion should come from inside. What you like and the way you want to look. The statement you want to make with your clothes. Don’t let fashion own you, rather you decide what your fashion and style is and what you want to express by the way you dress and live.
Fast fashion is a term used by retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly in order to capture current fashion trends.
A digital news and lifestyle magazine “TakePart” is featuring independent journalism on today’s most important, socially relevant topics, alongside a social action platform. They started a pledge to help reduce the true cost of fast fashion. Already 13000 people has pledged on it They state on their website:
- clothing consumption has increased 500 percent in the United States in just the last couple of decades
- the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter on the planet after oil
- doing just one load of laundry takes 35 gallons of water
They further state that the trend of affordable “fast fashion” has real consequences for our planet. What if we replaced it with a trend of responsible consumerism that could help provide clean and accessible water for all and sustainable communities everywhere? You can be a part of such a solution.
How? Consume differently. When you have to have that one thing, choose thoughtfully. There are other simple lifestyle shifts that you can make in buying and caring for your clothes, and you can make a dramatic difference in the impact of consumption on the planet and the people involved. You can also require businesses to be part of the solution: Choose who to buy from, and make sure your money does more good than harm—to ourselves, our communities, and our planet.
I’ll tell you about the pledge in a little bit, before that read this.
Greenpeace International is a powerful organization based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, founded in 1971 and having offices in 55 countries. Greenpeace states that every piece of clothing we buy has had an impact on our planet before we even bring it home. That’s before you step out of the door, walk down the street, and spot that attractive item you see hanging in the window.
First, there’s water consumption. 2 billion pairs of jeans are produced every year, and a typical pair takes 7,000 liters of water to produce. For a t-shirt, it takes 2,700 liters of water to make just one. That’s the amount of water an average person drinks over the course of 900 days.
Secondly, there’s the dyeing process of which 1.7 million tons of various chemicals are used; not to mention the hazardous chemicals like PFCs that leave a permanent impact on our environment.
Greenpeace further throws light on clothing that doesn’t make it to market. An estimated 400 billion square meters of textiles are produced annually, of which 60 billion square meters are left on the cutting room floor. Each year over 80 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide, and after its short lifespan, three out of four garments will end up in landfills or be incinerated. Only a quarter will be recycled.
So how did we get this way? Since when did we get so obsessed with clothes?
One obvious reason is fast fashion. In this era of fast fashion, being seen in the same outfit has been enough to warrant a “tsk-tsk” from the fashion police. Just over the last five years, the top fashion retailers grew 9.7 per cent per year, topping the 6.8 per cent of growth of traditional apparel companies.
How do we fashion responsibly when we are so detached. It’s hard to think about some person on the other side of the world, when you are buying a five dollar t-shirt from Walmart, which might be made by a worker who is not being paid a fair and living wage. Or while keeping the effects on environment in mind when we buy too many clothes which we might not even use.
The best way to start would be to keep ourselves informed. Getting educated on this subject by reading more about it. Doing some research before buying and asking questions to ourselves, am I buying right? Am I buying too much?
Fashion is to charm and not to harm. We need to fashion responsibly. We can be a responsible clothing consumer.
Below is the pledge “TakePart” started:
I pledge to be a responsible consumer and remain aware of the environmental and human effects of the fast fashion industry.
- Buy clothes made with sustainable fibers (recycled polyester, organic cotton).
- Ask the brands you buy from how their clothes are made—tweet at them or ask retailers when you are in stores about where, how, and who makes their clothing.
- Recycle clothes at thrift stores, vintage stores, or donation locations.
- Participate in clothing-swap meet-ups—it’s fun.
- Buy what you need, not always what you want.
- Participate in “slow fashion.”
- Buy clothes you love, that last, and that have an exceptional warranty policy to help you mend them over time.
- Wash your jeans less.
Take part and take action.