Can you guess what’s the 4th R of sustainable fashion nobody’s talking about?
Despite the overwhelming news about the grim ecological future of our planet, there are always things you can do to make you feel better and also make an environmental difference.
One such thing everybody talks about is to manage your fashion choices with the help of the 3 key R’s in fashion: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
And we’ve added a new R to the equation that is as equally important, if not the most important of them all!
Keep reading to see what we mean by that.
Why is Fast Fashion a Problem?
According to the ‘Environmental Protection Agency‘, textiles waste take up to 5% of all landfill space in the United States.
With the advent of fast-fashion brands such as Forever 21, H&M, and Zara, it’s easier than ever to buy inexpensive clothes.
Fast fashion refers to clothes that are often cheaply made in mass quantities.
Fast-fashion is made in cheap labour countries and shipped all over the world.
This causes further ethical manufacturing and environmental issues, but we’ll cover these another time.
Fast fashion’s main problem comes from the low quality of the garments sold. For once, these garments break down quickly.
Whether the threading comes undone, they tear, or they just wear out after a few washes, it’s likely you’re not going to get years of use out of a shirt from a fast-fashion brand.
If sales are the end goal, this is a smart marketing technique; these stores create inexpensive clothes that people can afford.
In turn, the clothes wear out quickly, and the consumers go back to buy more.
Unfortunately, treating clothes like they are easily dispensable will continue to aggravate the waste and pollution problems the industry is battling with.
From a sustainability standpoint, the overproduction of low-quality clothing contributes to everything bad you can imagine:
- Underpaid and abused workers.
- Unneeded transportation and reckless carbon emissions.
- Excessive waste.
- Environmental pollution.
- Climate change.
So, how can you reuse and recycle what you already own?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and…?
These days it is impossible to turn on the news without hearing something about pollution and climate crisis.
Or, news about industrial animal farming, fast fashion, and how these two industries have become the climate crisis culprits.
It is the harsh reality and our planet’s ecological future.
Yet, rather than complaining about the bad players or the constant ‘negative’ news, there’s something we all can do.
Do our part in a way that makes us feel better and allow us to avoid eco-anxiety.
In simple terms:
“eco-anxiety is seeing the ecological problem and thinking you’re unable to change anything,”
Such negative thoughts will impact your mental health in many ways.
It will be manifesting as depression, PTSD, aggression, feelings of helplessness and fear.
Yet, with the help of the 4th R, we have good news for you all.
There are always things you can do to make you feel better and also make an environmental difference.
Managing your fashion choices with the help of the 3 key R’s in fashion: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle works.
But there’s another R that can help with eco-anxiety and amplify the other R’s.
Slow down your fashion shopping spree.
That might mean you have to avoid fast-fashion stores and opt for more sustainable clothing and slow fashion brands.
Not only do sustainable brands use more eco-friendly practices in creating their clothing, but also they tend to be higher-quality so the clothes will last longer.
If you have old clothes that you’re not going to wear anymore, don’t throw them away!
If they’re in good condition, donate them to a local or online thrift store where they can be reused by someone else.
If you have clothing that can’t be worn (ie; they have holes, they’re worn out), find ways to recycle them.
Tear a t-shirt into pieces and use it as a cleaning rag that you can wash and reuse instead of using paper towels.
Determine if the materials can be composted.
You can even look into textile recycling programs in your area that may be able to use the material for something else.
This is also manifested as upcycling, including creating new clothes without having to start from scratch.
The 4th R is Re-learn. It is simple. You have to unlearn all the things you thought you know about fashion and look at it from a sustainable lens.
Learning about sustainable fashion and its impact on our future.
Let’s do a quick Re-learn test right here:
Did you know that fast fashion brands target teens and young adults?
Did you know that the names of these brands are carefully chosen to appeal to young consumers, like ‘Forever 21’? Do you know why?
Well, there’s a reason for that.
For once, teens spend about $2,600 each year on food and clothes.
Second, it is easy to sell to young consumers before they grasp critical concepts such as pollution, waste, climate crisis, or animal cruelty.
That’s what we mean by the 4th R. Re-learn the truth about fashion.
Let’s help the young fashion lovers see how they’re spending money on destroying their own future.
But more than that, Re-learn means to help them understand what they can do to make eco-conscious choices.
As a parent, teaching your children about the importance of sustainability can help them to make better choices for their future and for the future of following generations.
Youth environmental activism is one of the best ways for our planet to see positive changes.
Children and teens today are faced with a planet that is suffering from climate change, poor air quality, and pollution.
The more you educate your children now about the importance of sustainable fashion and other eco-friendly ways of living, the cleaner and greener the future will be.
When you embark on reducing, reusing, recycling and re-learning, you’ll trigger positive habits.
A change not just for you, but in your own family, too, together for a better future.
WTVOX – ‘Voicing the Future of Fashion’
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A decade of fashion; here’s to the next one.
The past decade has been turbulent – and defining – for fashion: child labour, climate crisis, gender inequality, animal cruelty, and reckless plastic pollution, just to name a few.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the beginning of this decade does not look too good either.
That’s why finding media that reports with rigour and integrity at heart is difficult in critical times.
Finding media that informs all, regardless of where they live or if they can afford to pay, is even harder.
In these times, independent fashion media magazines are increasingly silenced by commercial ownership and social media misinformation.
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