Fast Fashion and its Environmental Impact

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast Fashion is known as cheap, disposable clothing that is produced rapidly by mass-market retailers to keep up with the latest trends. As a consumer, this means that we can constantly purchase clothing at an affordable price. However, have you ever considered its environmental impact?


Fast Fashion's Impact on the Environment?

In Australia, 6000kg of cheap, disposable and mass-produced ‘fast fashion’ items are dumped in landfill every 10 minutes, and greater than 500 million kilos of unwanted clothing ends up in landfill each year. Given this, it is no surprise why the global fashion industry is the second-most polluting industry in the world. Additional environmental impacts of fast fashion include: the depletion of non-renewable sources, emission of greenhouse gases and the excessive use of water and energy. Furthermore, brands use synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon and acrylic which takes hundreds of years to biodegrade.


Not only as consumers do we need to consider how to be more sustainable with our purchases, but companies also need to move to business models where their environmental impact considered from the start to the end of its lifecycle.

What can you do?

Here are our top tips on how to be sustainable with your clothing choices and/or purchases:

  1. Become more of a conscious shopper. Reduce, reuse and recycle your clothes the right way.

  2. Increase the number of times you wear your clothes.

  3. Don’t be impulsive: fight the urge to buy clothes you do not need, and purchase clothes that you know will last – buy quality over quantity.

  4. Invest in purchases that you know you can wear again and again, such as seasonal and staple wardrobe essentials which you can wear all year round.

  5. Buy from eco-friendly and sustainable brands, where their environmental footprint is considered from the star to the end of its lifecycle.

  6. Buy second-hand: you could consider stores such as the Salvos or Vinnies, online stores such as Depop eBay and Esty, as well as online retailers such as ASOS.

  7. Look after your clothes well so they will last longer.

  8. Repair clothing items that may be damaged.

  9. If you no longer want some clothes, donate them or sell them online in order to extend their lifecycle.

In implementing these small tips in your everyday-life, together we can help reduce the negative impact of fast fashion on our environment.

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