Have you ever bough a top that you paid £5 or less and it wasn’t in charity shop? Did you briefly think “Geeeshh it’s so cheap!”. Maybe for a moment you wondered how it can be possible that it’s so cheap but it’s not uncommon so the thought gets replaced with “Bargaiiinn” and you might even jump a little from happiness. Shopping is a little like drugs or doughnuts, its immediate gratification and we get hit by a surge of dopamine. No wonder it’s called retail therapy. But it fades right? By the time that you get home you feel no different than before you got did your shopping and probably next week you might not even remember exactly what you got. The pros are feeling good for a little bit but at what cost?
Workers are normally women who are trying to make a better life for themselves so they move to the city. This is taken advantage by the sweatshops that make them work in under conditions that no-one should have to endure. There is very little or no health and safety and this why there has been so many sweatshop disasters that have claimed thousands of lives. They are paid very little and are worked extremely hard.
Not only are the individuals that work in these factories affected but also the population around the factories due to the massive disregard to their safety which is compromised when factories dump commercial waste into their rivers and the atmosphere. They also use their resources (water & land).
“More than 50 million litres of toxic water from the tanneries go into the river Ganga. A river that is holy and serves 800 million people.” (The True Cost movie)
Money drives everything and this is why when we buy a £5 t-shirt we are telling the business that is what we want, we demand it. If H&M is supplying this, topshop doesn’t want to miss out on this demand so they too will supply us with what we have demanded. To cut costs the put pressure on the suppliers, their suppliers then put pressure on the factories and you guessed it, the factories put pressure on their workers. Shit rolls down hill. We have a responsibility to vote with our money.
Like discussed above the environment gets negatively impacted on by factories. But there’s more. “The value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion. It is also estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year” (Wrap, 2018).
The annual footprint of a household’s newly bought clothing, along with the washing and cleaning of its clothes, is estimated to be equivalent to the:
- carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6,000 miles
- water needed to fill over 1,000 bathtubs
Buyers wellbeing cost
Research shows that when it comes to choice, it gets to a certain point where any more options and our wellbeing decreases. Retail therapy is a bandaid sort of like eating a doughnut because we are sad. It’ll make us feel good for a bit but because we didn’t partake in that actions because we simply wanted to but because we were looking for an external force to fill that void, it’ll leave you feeling empty and confused. Confused? yes because consumerist society thrives on us feeling shit about our life, about how we look etc because they will look at you and tell you that x y or z product will definitely make you feel more whole. But it is an unachievable goal because we will never find happiness in surplus things. I highly recommend watching the Minimalists on netflix.
So what do we quit fast fashion?
- Watch The True Cost on Netflix
- Watch The Minimalists
- Vow to stop buying from Fast Fashion Shops. Basically no more buying new clothes.
- Take stock of what you already have. You will be surprised on what you already. have.
- Look after and repair what you already have. Repair Cafes are great for this.
- If you do need to buy something. Buy consciously. Either from charity shops, vintage shops, second hand on ebay or other sites like depop. Or from brands that are accredited with being organic and ethical in their production.
Currently I am also going to give Marie Kondo’s book a go which I was happy to find in my local library. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be writing to you telling you how tidy and decluttered my house is. Why am I doing this? I want to be completely aware of all the possessions I own and loving every one of them. Because once we have stock of all the things that we own, not only will it be wonderful to live in a clutter free house where everything I own I love, it will also make it much easier to not get tempted by wanting to buy something unconsciously. It’s all about being conscious. In what we buy and how we live. Everything that we do has either positive or negative impact.
If you are interested more on the cost of fast fashion and also how the two documentaries I mentioned above have changed my life check out my blog post on it 🙂
Please share your favourite tips on how to quit fast fashion either here on the accompanying instagram post. And also your favourite ethical clothing brands please.
Till next time!
Previous Low Impact Living info blog posts: