Fast fashion is appealing – cheap, trendy, easy to find. But guess what – most of it ends in landfills, becoming the second-largest polluter in the world.
On the photo below, this is K. K. represents most of us. K. is in its late 20s and loves being trendy, wearing new clothes and accessories to work or to gatherings with friends. K. goes to the local shopping centre every weekend and buys new pieces. K. bought some the previous week as well. K. wore them once and will probably wear them one more time before forgetting about them and eventually throwing them when rearranging its closet in a few weeks to create space for its new fashion findings.
We don’t have to be like that…
The fashion industry is the seventh-largest economy but also the second-largest polluter in the world. In the last 15 years, clothing production has doubled. The reasons: the increasing world middle-class population as well as the increasing of income per capita in the developing and the developed parts of the world. However, the world economy could more than double in size by 2050, which means that both clothing production and consumption will as well.
What if we continue living and consuming the way we do today?
Fast fashion brands release between 12 and 24 collections per year, which translates into more than 50 million tons of clothes. If the industry continues to grow at this pace, by 2050, it is expected to reach more than 150 million tons of clothes produced per year.
What does the fast fashion industry cause to the world?
Fast fashion is perceived as the second most polluting industry in the world. Today, according to It is responsible for more than 10% of global carbon emissions. It releases 5 times more carbon dioxide than the aviation industry.
It doesn’t stop here! It was estimated that about 150 billion pieces of clothing and accessories end up in landfills every year. How much time do you think is necessary for them to decompose? On average a pair of shoes needs 100 years. Polyester needs between 20 and 200 years. Spandex decomposing, on the other hand, could be indefinite due to the excessive processing and usage of nonrenewable materials during production.
What about water? Each year, the fashion industry uses between 1.5 and 2.5 trillion gallons of water. Dyeing a ton of fabric necessitates 200 tons of fresh water. At the same time, more than 750 million people around the world do not have access to fresh water.
Besides being harmful to the environment, fast fashion could actually be expensive. Yes, fast fashion labels seem cheap. A T-shirt for $4.99 or a pair of shoes for $9.99. However, low price means low quality as well. Low quality means buying more and more the same type of clothing, which eventually means high spending on poor-quality products. Yes, productS but is quantity more important than quality? That is a question everyone should ask themselves, especially when wondering whether to buy another $4.99 T-shirt!
1) The World in 2050, PWC
2) Fast Fashion: The Second Largest Polluter in The World, GreenMatch
3) How Long It Will Take For Your Clothing To Decompose, By Fabric, Peaceful Dumpling