one green planet
one green planet

In an ideal world, we would all never buy fast fashion. However, this is just not realistic for everybody. Fashion is exciting and always changing. New trends often attract overconsumption. Many people wear new clothes a handful of times and simply discard them when a trend goes out of style. Most clothing cannot be composted and end up in landfills. The good news is that as a consumer, you have the power to vote with your wallet. Buy fair trade, or as close as you can get to it, and you will be making an immensely positive difference in this world. We hope this guide helps you to do just that.

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is a design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing, according to The Good Trade. It’s centered around trends and utilizes low-quality materials to bring inexpensive styles to the end consumer. The business model depends on consumers endlessly buying clothes to keep up with these ever-changing trends.

Why We Need Ethical Fashion

Sustainable fashion is an all-inclusive term describing products, processes, activities, and actors (policymakers, brands, consumers) aiming to achieve a carbon-neutral fashion industry, built on equality, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity, according to sustainable fashion experts. Ethical fashion is essential in preventing environmental damage and severe human rights abuses.

1. Say No To Trends 

It’s so easy to get sucked into trend cycles – and it’s even easier to not realize you want something because it’s trendy, not because you will wear it a lot. Think about what you want to buy this season and when you first saw it. If the style only just popped up on your Instagram feed a month ago, it usually means it’s going to fade away just as quickly, leaving you with a garment you probably won’t want to wear anymore. It’s perfectly valid to enjoy trends, but you should rethink where you buy your clothes to avoid financially supporting the companies that choose to use labor exploitation.

2. Textile Dyeing & Water Contamination

Source: DW Planet A/Youtube

Processes like bleaching, softening, or making the garment water-resistant or anti-wrinkle require various chemicals and treatments to be applied to fabric, CNN explains. Dyeing clothes to get vivid colors and finishes that are common in the fast fashion industry require large amounts of water and chemicals, which end up being dumped in nearby rivers and lakes.

3. Fossil Fuel Fabrics & Microfibers

Source: Changing Markets Foundation/Youtube

About 60 percent of all garments contain polyester, a synthetic fabric made with fossil fuels. When repeatedly washed, synthetic garments shed microfibers (microplastics) that eventually end up polluting waterways and never biodegrade. Microfibers are easily ingested by marine life, working their way into the human food system and human bodies, and can carry harmful bacteria.

4. Landfills & Waste

Source: BBC News/Youtube

Fast fashion is driving up waste by continuously releasing new trends of poorly-made clothes that easily rip and tear. Just within years of being made, consumers discard their clothes which end up in incinerators or landfills. Almost 85 percent of textiles end up in landfills, where it could take up to 200 years for materials to decompose. This is not only a huge waste of the resources used in these products but also releases more pollution as clothes are burned or sit in landfills, releasing greenhouse emissions.

5. Reusing What’s Good


Source: gabriel12/Shutterstock

Clothes that are in good condition should be donated to charity. Then, they can be sold inexpensively, used by someone else, and provide money to a good cause. Many people shop secondhand as much to reduce their footprint as to save money, so this allows those willing to do that access to quality clothing. And others simply can’t afford the styles and quality they’d like, so thrift stores give them access to what they’d like. For those into cutting-edge fashion, changing up the wardrobe annually, donating to thrift stores allows the changeover to be a little more environmentally friendly.

6. More Sustainable Practices

Source: inspiroue/Youtube

Movements toward biodegradable fashion are pushing for environmentally-friendly dyes and alternative fabrics that do not take hundreds of years to decompose. Comprehensive changes in the fast fashion industry can help end sweatshops and exploitation work practices, heal the health and environments of communities where garments are produced, and also aid the global fight in mitigating climate change.

We need to preserve our planet! 13 million tons of clothes end up in our landfills and fast fashion has changed the way that we think about clothes. It’s always best to recycle clothes and go to second-hand or thrift stores when looking for new clothing. The recent boom in secondhand clothing is reducing fashion’s impact on the planet and showing that secondhand shoppers are eco-conscious and savvy, not just “hipsters”!

Read more about the environmental impact of the fashion industry and some ways to reduce your impact:

Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that are raising awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
  • Support Independent Media: Being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
  • Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
  • Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!