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Slowing Down on Fast Fashion

By Sania Daniyal

A prominent part of everyday life is clothing and style, but it has come to more people’s attention that some clothing harms the environment. Fast fashion is described as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” It allows shopping for clothes to be affordable, but the retailers do not treat their workers or the environment well.

The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. It produces 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, pollutes oceans with microplastics, and is the second-largest consumer of the world's water supply.

Child labor is also heavily involved in making these clothes. Child labor is defined by the UN as “work for which the child is either too young (work done below the required minimum age) or work which, because of its detrimental nature or conditions, is altogether considered unacceptable for children and is prohibited.” Child labor is forbidden by law in most countries, but it continues in the poorest parts of the world. According to the International Labor Organization, 260 million children are in employment around the world.

As the fashion industry exploits children, they also dump or burn garbage trucks filled with textiles into landfills every second. While fast fashion stores such as H&M, Topshop, and Forever 21 have affordable prices, they have horrendous effects on the environment.

Not only is thrifting a more sustainable way of shopping, it is also more environmentally conscious and healthier for the economy...

An alternative to buying directly from fast fashion is thrifting. It is a much more affordable way to shop, and it supports sustainable fashion through secondhand clothing. Going thrifting has also become a trendy way to hang out with your friends and discover products that are suitable at a cheaper price. Not only is thrifting a more sustainable way of shopping, it is also more environmentally conscious and healthier for the economy.

“I prefer thrifting because the clothes are cheaper and it’s fun looking for the clothes,” said freshman Isabella Gomes.

Source by Sydney Hargrove, @sydneysscrapbook

Senior Ari Boldur looks through racks of clothes at a thrift store called MyUnique in Westbury.

With thrifting becoming a more common practice with many teens and young adults today, the importance of thrifting has grown and it is making people more socially aware of it. Thrifting allows you to keep plastic out of landfills and reduce the amount of waste from fast fashion companies.

“Thrifting is a sustainable way to build my closet and it helps the environment,” said freshman Olivia Loubriel.

Even with the many benefits of thrifting, the poor are suffering from this trend. Since economically disadvantaged people rely on clothing from the thrift store and they have no other affordable options, there are now fewer quality products left on the thrift store racks as prices have increased. The rising popularity of thrifting has led to the gentrification of these thrift shops, ultimately taking away from the people that genuinely rely on these stores.

Additionally, in thrift shops, larger sizes are uncommon, just as they are in brand-name shops. This is a concern because disadvantaged people are disproportionately more obese than the wealthy, and people need to be aware of the influence of thrifting on such pieces.

As people continue to shop, fast fashion and its threat on climate change will not disappear anytime soon, but those who thrift should be aware of the consequences, too.

Source by Sydney Hargrove, @sydneysscrapbook

Seniors Thalia Torio and Sydney Hargrove go thrifting at Buffalo Exchange, a thrift shop in New York City.


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