By Avery Owens |

Fast fashion is quite easy to take part in and many play a role without realizing it.

You stroll into the mall, ready for some retail therapy. You look around in your favorite stores and gather a few items that you like. You find a dressing room, try on some clothes, and you decide what looks best on you. Then, you head to the register and purchase the new additions to your wardrobe. Without even realizing it, you have contributed to the global phenomenon known as fast fashion. 

Fast fashion is a term used to describe the inexpensive production of cheap clothing at a fast pace. The process sounds ideal, but in nature, is not sustainable. Fashion companies such as Forever 21, H&M and Zara are just a few of the stores that fall into this description. These types of stores are polluting the air and harming the planet.

Many people do not realize what a big polluter the fashion industry is  it is the second largest polluter in the world (oil is the first). The textile factories release harmful gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

Another reason why fast fashion is damaging is that it encourages the exploitation of overseas workers, which contributes to the decline of U.S. manufacturing. The industry takes advantage of foreign labor by paying workers less than they would pay them in the states. This is unethical and it takes jobs away from Americans who need it. 

More personally, the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing a year, which is just wasteful. Because these outfits are so inexpensive and they are made so quickly, they aren’t great quality. They are not designed to be long-lasting staples in one’s closet. After a couple of wears, they are typically tossed out. This leads to another fast fashion purchase, which just continues the cycle. 

Luckily, there is a way to be on-trend, not break the bank and still save the planet. Our third article on sustainability is here to tell you how. 

  1. Thrifting

The most obvious and simple way to shop sustainably is at thrift stores. The options are endless while thrifting and you never know what you will find. 

I like to think of it like this — there are hundreds of abandoned clothes in the world, just waiting for someone to love them and take them home. You could be the person who gives a sad piece of clothing a happy life, all the while saving the planet. 

The activity can also easily become a shared activity with friends. Bored? Gather some friends and go thrifting. The activity is fun, cheap, and sustainable. 

    2.  Shopping sustainable labels

Can’t look past the idea of wearing someone else’s clothes, or just really want to buy new clothes? There are many sustainable brands taking a stand against the fast fashion industry. Brands like Everlane and Tretorn, have pledged to provide sustainable clothing. Harper’s Bazaar has compiled a list of their favorite eco-friendly brands as well. With just a little research it is easy to discover clothing brands that are pursuing sustainability. 

    3.  Sharing is caring

Don’t want to spend any money at all? Plan a clothing swap between you and your friends. This is another solution that can turn into a fun social gathering. Have your friends gather clothes that they no longer wear/want and you do the same. Get together, turn on some music, eat some snacks, and swap away! 

Avoiding fast fashion is simpler than it seems. It requires a conscious choice to avoid irresponsible retailers, but the benefits are many. 

The next time you are in need of a new wardrobe, consider one of these options. It’s time for fast fashion to go!