I was inspired by this image on Instagram by Project Stopshop to talk about the disposable nature of fast fashion. Unfortunately, the idea of not wearing the same outfit twice is too real and can be found all over social media.
The fast fashion business model is about selling a high volume of clothing with a quick turnover. To do that, they need people to be shopping continuously. Brands entice customers by keeping prices low, having new items in store weekly, and marketing to encourage people to always want new things. This is also heavily fueled by media and by celebrities who want to sell more and more product/ads to the point where clothing is seen as a disposable item and “wearing the same outfit twice” is viewed negatively… I’ve actually seen people apologizing on social media for posting clothes they’ve previously worn 🙁
Consider everything that goes into making a single garment – for example:
- thousands of litres of water (roughly 3 years worth of drinking water are used to make 1 cotton t-shirt!)
- energy and petrochemicals
- dyes and finishing
- labour throughout the supply chain – with many people not paid a living wage
- packaging and shipping to multiple locations
It’s devastating to think after all this, a garment might be worn once, maybe twice, and then thrown away (the average American throws 70lbs of textile waste into the landfill each year). When people pay very little for an item, they’re not as likely to take care of it or repair it, or to feel bad throwing it away.
The “disposable” idea of fashion needs to change.
We should be proud to wear (and be photographed in) the same outfit twice! I love getting complimented on a piece and telling someone I’ve had it for years; those pieces are so much more special than anything new🙂
I also really like the #30wears campaign promoted by Livia Firth, which encourages you to not buy something you can’t see yourself wearing at least 30 times. This is the easiest way to have a more sustainable wardrobe, perfect for someone getting started thinking more about their clothing impact, and it’s also an easy change to make – it doesn’t require a higher budget or time to research, you just need to ask yourself:
“Will I wear this at least 30 times?”
Are you a proud outfit repeater?