Towards the Future of Fast Fashion
The Movement That Changes the Lifespan of Clothes
The rise of fast fashion has drastically shortened the cycle of clothing. Over the past 15 years, the number of times an outfit is worn has decreased by about 36%, and about 9.2 million tons of clothing are discarded each year. In fact, at this very moment, the equivalent of a garbage truck’s worth of clothes is being thrown away every second. This amount of discarded clothing continues to increase, with predictions of doubling within a decade. The problems associated with fast fashion are not limited to waste; there are also serious issues in various areas such as labor, human rights, and resources. For example, in the face of global water scarcity, the fashion industry is responsible for 20% of the world’s wastewater.
As an antithesis to fast fashion, the slow fashion movement has emerged. Slow fashion is characterized by designs that are not driven by trends, high-quality items with longer lifespans, and a focus on environmentally and ethically conscious traceable distribution. The traceability of the entire process, from how, where, and by whom the products are made to how they are disposed of, reveals the integrity of the products.
In this week’s articles, we will explore how this new movement will change the lifespan of clothes and what choices we have as consumers.
The increase in opportunities to go out naturally leads to a desire to dress fashionably. Upon returning to my home country after staying in Denmark, I was busy shopping for the remaining short summer season. While fast fashion offered trendy and affordable options, I found myself struggling with the dilemma of purchasing clothes that might not last long both in terms of trends and quality.
That’s when I turned to thrift shopping and the resale market. I found items available in the resale market to be surprisingly satisfying in terms of design and cleanliness, and I realized that “newness” was not the top priority as long as the items fit well and were of good quality. According to a global report by Thredup, the resale market is growing at a rate 11 times faster than conventional retail, and luxury brands like Valentino and Gucci are considering partnerships with customers who own items from previous seasons to build their resale schemes.
As the resale market grows, the trend of “long-lasting love” for designs is also gaining momentum. Devon Leary, Ralph Lauren’s head of sustainability, stated in Vogue Business that “Timeless designs are the key to sustainability because they prove the value of the garments over time.” The attractiveness of timeless designs is understandable when you shop with the assumption of passing the items to someone else.
While ensuring that the appeal of the clothing lasts while we wear it, it is also essential to consider how it will be loved even when passed on to others, thus ensuring that fashion is widely circulated.
Why Do Apparel Brands Sell Detergents?
Being out of trend was once considered a loss in the fast-paced fashion industry. As someone who worked in the apparel industry, foreign collections released every season served as crucial sources of information for shaping my fashion choices, such as selecting items and styling.
However, in recent times, I have come to prefer items with timeless designs, and the number of times I wear each outfit has greatly increased. This shift towards choosing items for long-term wear has naturally changed the way I care for my clothes. I have started using hangers and shoe trees to prevent distortion, preparing for a long-term relationship with my favorite pieces.
Of course, there are other tips for extending the lifespan of clothes. British apparel brand “L’Estrange” sells detergents that use natural enzymes. It is said to work only on the superficial old fibers that cause clothes to appear worn, potentially extending the lifespan of clothing by two times.
L’Estrange has also received a 4 out of 5 rating on the site “good on you,” which evaluates how ethical a brand is. Their high ratings are particularly due to the use of recycled materials and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in manufacturing.
Although there have been clothing-friendly detergents and ethical brands in the past, it is intriguing to see such initiatives offered by a single brand. The site also includes a page titled “PRODUCT CARE,” which compiles washing instructions for each item, conveying a clear vision pursued by the brand. As I researched the brand, I realized that consistent efforts can foster empathy and may be the secret to a lasting relationship.
The Pitfalls of Fashion Charity
Donating clothes that you no longer wear may seem like a wonderful action, but an estimated 25% of donated clothes end up in landfills. This is due to charities being forced to sort and dispose of clothes of poor quality. Clothes that you can’t wear may not be suitable for others either. It’s essential not to forget about this perspective.
Fashion Company Traceability
The “Fashion Sustainability and Accountability Act” has been proposed in New York. This bill urges fashion companies doing business in NY to disclose supply chain information, including CO2 emissions, water usage, and chemical usage. If the bill is passed, it will have a significant impact on the traceability of the fashion industry.
Breathing Life into Pre-Loved Products
The Scandinavian fashion brand Ganni has launched the resale platform . Ganni’s co-founder, Nicolaj, talks about his vision, saying, “We want to enable the buying and selling of both new and pre-loved products without distinction.” The brand has been