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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

I love fashion. Going shopping and finding pieces that match the latest trends is something I thoroughly enjoy. Earlier this month in my Environmental Science class, we read an article about fast fashion. The phrase “fast fashion” was not entirely new to me, but I believed I was not a big part of the problem as long as I didn’t buy too many pieces from well-known fast fashion companies such as Shein. I quickly realized that there are a lot more things that I can, and should, be doing.

The fast fashion industry has affected our world as we know it: through my class this semester, I learned that it is solely responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution and 8-10% of carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, over 15,000 types of different chemicals have been found in production as well, and these agrochemicals can cause harmful symptoms to consumers and the environment in the long term. These statistics play a direct role in climate change.

In addition to these effects on the environment, the wasteful nature of fast fashion has a large impact as well. The waste from clothing production happens both before and after the products are in the hands of consumers. Pre-consumer waste includes cloths and fibers that are discarded as scraps because of the high quantity in many production facilities. Once consumers are done with these clothes, they are often discarded. There needs to be increased efforts to recycle or donate clothing instead of throwing them away. As of November 1, 2022, textiles were banned from disposal or transport for disposal in Massachusetts. This has been a step in the right direction, but we as consumers can still do more.

If we want the conditions to change, we need to change how we consume the fast fashion industry. Textile recycling and thrifting are great ways to slow the harmful overconsumption of fast fashion. I strongly believe we need to change the way we are consuming our clothing to make the world a better place. Limiting the consumption of new clothes by thrifting is a great way to start.

In the fall HerCampus hosted a thrift store, and we are hosting another for the spring semester as well. Consider joining us to try out thrifting, especially if it’s new to you!

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Ann O'Malley

Holy Cross '26

Ann is a current sophomore at Holy Cross from Milton, Massachusetts. She enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, and writing!