In 2010, Eileen Fisher declared fashion as being the 2nd largest world polluter. For some, this may seem absurd, almost inaccurate. How could a process so simple as making clothes be harmful. But let's think about it for a while. The bulk of what fashion doesn't use, the remnants of fabric in the production process, the un-bought clothing and accessory articles and of course the multitudes of samples made in the process of getting that one perfect prototype. Where does it all end up?
From the clothes we throw away, to every new item bought also. It's so easy to get lost in the idea of satisfaction and retail therapy, afterall its just one new item after another (all over the world too).
Clothing play an integral part in our everyday day life, perhaps even helping us define who we want to be for the day, who we choose to be, and sometimes can help us live up to ourselves. Simply put, they are and have become tools for self and individual expressions and communication. Needless to say a huge source of income, and an ever growing industry worth $2.4 trillion (Mckinsey global fashion index 2016). Fashion really is beyond a power house.
In this context, we also realize the availability and accessibility of fashion, the ease of acquiring a new pair of shoes, dress, T-shirt or underwear made possible via the instant online shopping experience. All this would eventually lead to more waste in the system and world. Solutions come as recycling, upcycling and repurposing various articles both for fashion and accessories. With this said, Thrifting becomes an easy way out also, the purchase of second hand or fairly used clothes as opposed to a new purchase each time would by far not only be more helpful, and cost effective, but also caring to the environment and planet. Giving out clothes not used anymore and still in good conditions, re-fashioning, and buying clothes at lower cost makes for a difference in consumption and helps consumers even reach better satisfaction with the cost of buying a new and luxurious item being shouldered by the first line of consumer, and the consecutive one being able to still enjoy that product that might have been out of reach.
Seems like a win win situation right? Thrifting just doesn't allow for acquisition of these favourites, but also a healthy system and approach of fashion with relations to function. It will ultimately allow for the more conscious production of fashion(carbon footprint would also be reduced), with manufacturers putting need before trend, aiming for an all seasonal fashion as opposed to a one-time, shelve and dispose approach. Fewer items been made means more focus on quality, integrity, and durability. It will allow for more better labour practices, making your clothes more happy, because a happy maker (seamsters, tailors etc) would always make good fashion.
Image credits : Abiodun David.