According to fast fashion waste statistics, the industry produces over 92 million tonnes of waste per year. (Nature, CNN)
Fast fashion is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions annually and this number is only set to increase exponentially in the next few years. (The World Bank Group)
One of the arising issues that harm our environment right now is Fast Fashion. It is ‘fast’ in a number of senses: the changes in fashion are fast, the rate of production is fast; the customer’s decision to purchase is fast; delivery is fast, and garments are worn fast – usually only a few times before being discarded. The rise of fast fashion has had devastating consequences, from its reliance on plastic fabrics and its enormous carbon footprint to its erosion of workers’ rights. These numbers shown above are only a little segment of this global issue that really highlights its impact on our earth, and it shows how absolutely crucial it is that we make a change for the better.
To further explore Fast Fashion for our project and understand its impact, we tried to look at the numbers and conduct more research about it. There are many ways in which fast fashion affects us and our environment. Some of the impacts are such as the depletion of non-renewable sources, emission of greenhouse gases, and the use of massive amounts of water and energy. Moreover, this industry also poses societal problems, especially in developing economies. Where most of the companies’ methods of producing clothing are unethical as most workers work for long hours with minimal pay and are subjected to unsafe working conditions with no regard for their rights and well-being.
After learning more about this issue and realizing its prominence globally, we also looked at Fast Fashion in our community, in the UAE, where there is little to no awareness about Fast Fashion or its harmful impact on our environment. This particularly has then inspired our passion to start our own project “Shift to Thrift”, which is essentially a thrift store we’ve opened after collecting donations from our local community, such as gently used clothes and accessories. We also conducted workshops, surveys and discussion circles that helped raise awareness of Fast Fashion. Our aim with this project is to not only combat Fast Fashion and its environmental consequences but to also encourage and motivate people around us to make a shift to thrifting for all its benefits and adopt more eco-friendly and responsible consumption habits. Along with trying out methods like recycling and upcycling clothes for a more sustainable society! We hope to offer a service whereby fellow students and local citizens can recycle unwanted clothes or buy reused clothes.