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Alternatives to Fast Fashion

The discussion around fast fashion has been gaining traction in the past year, but some people are not familiar with the term. Fast fashion is the term for clothing brands like Forever 21 and Zara that make cheap clothing in unethical conditions to keep up with the rapidly changing fashion trends. These unethical productions include forced and underpaid child labor, and waste polluting our environment. The True Cost Documentary revealed that these workers usually make less than three dollars for a full day of work. It also cites the fashion industry as the second largest polluter. This practice obviously has many problems but some people still don’t know what they can do to help. I decided to offer a few alternatives to fast fashion to spread the word.

 

 

Try to buy used clothes

One of the reasons why fast fashion exists is because of the high demand for new clothing. A way to combat this is to try and find some used clothing to fit your needs. If you like shopping in person, try out thrifting. Most current trends are just recycled trends that probably are in your local thrift store. If you prefer to shop online, there are websites like Poshmark that also allow you to buy and sell clothing.

 

Find ethically produced clothing brands

The best way to do this is just looking up brands on the internet. Yes, they typically are more expensive. But, that price tag supports ethical labor and a way to help the Earth, so it’s worth it. If money is an issue, H&M created an ethical fashion line. This proves fast fashion brands can change their ways if the consumer demands it.

 

Donating your own used clothes

Obviously only do this if they’re in good condition though. So many people just throw out clothing that they don’t want anymore. Instead donate, so someone else has a chance of loving it. Whether this is giving it to a family member or a local shelter, recycle those clothes! Many brands such as Burberry are guilty of destroying unbought product instead of donating it according to Business Insider.

 

Use the 30 wear test

What is this, you may ask? Say you really want a top from Zara, the catch is that it’s fast fashion. It is ok to buy the occasional new item, but try to keep this rule in mind. The 30 wear test is imagining if you’ll actually wear said top 30 or more times before you retire it. Be honest with yourself. If the answer is yes, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about buying it. If the answer is no, maybe try to find a fast fashion alternative of the top.

 

At the end of the day, the goal is not to refuse buying clothes ever again. Obviously this would make a lot of brands go bankrupt. The goal is to spread awareness for the unethical and wasteful production of fast fashion. Using these alternatives is a step in the right direction.

 

 

Ava Calpino

Wisconsin '22

Ava Calpino is a senior strategic communication major at UW Madison. She previously wrote for LMU's chapter. She loves writing, the environment, and cute animals.
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