The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Apart from the mass amounts of water it takes to produce even just one pair of jeans, the chemicals used in dying the materials are leaking into our water supplies. People are being mistreated and underpaid just to produce our clothing. Taking into account all of the harmful effects each item of clothing has on our environment, why are we still buying so much stuff that we don't even need? And do we even really want it?
On Black Friday, Nov 25, 2011, the biggest international sale day of the year, Patagonia, an American clothing company, launched an advertisement in the New York Times with the headline 'Don't Buy this Jacket'. It was part of their 'Common Threads' initiative which they launched to address the issue of consumerism. They say that the way to lighten our carbon footprint is for everybody to consume less. Their ad was not saying 'don't buy this jacket' but 'only buy this jacket if you need it'. It was quite a refreshing message to give to their customers.
There have been some changes made in fashion recently with the development of more sustainable fabrics, emerging slow fashion brands and even some high street clothing companies making small changes towards more sustainable and ethical practices, but ultimately, the only way to really reduce the impact the fashion industry is having on the planet and on the people working below minimum wage to make our clothes is to simply buy less, consume less. Simple changes such as caring for our clothing properly can mean they last twice as long, and therefore reduce the need to replace them. Investing in good quality pieces means that we will have them for longer. Knowing what fabrics will wear the best and knowing how to look after them will play a huge role in reducing the levels of consumption. So buy better, and you will buy less.