We seem to be constantly bombarded with all sorts of information about climate change and its negative impact on the environment and humanity as a whole. But given these many grim facts, we do not really have a choice of what we can do ourselves to counteract the situation – by feeling more and more uncontrolled with each passing day. We somehow see this whole thing of climate change as a kind of governmental responsibility, but as is often the case, the environment is usually pushed to the brink of politics as if the problem somehow resolved itself.
Things we can do individually to curb global warming. This is not in vain called The Age of Efficiency and we can do our part by becoming more efficient in everything we do. And almost nothing is as wasteful as the clothes we wear. Known as Fast Fashion this clothing industry has crept under the radar to become one of the major causes of environmental pollution in the world.
0th What is fast fashion?
Sometimes described as "low-cost clothing collections that mimic current fashion trends" Fast Fashion is a modern term used by fashion houses to refer to a specific segment of fashion industry, Focusing on bringing new garments from the catwalk into the hands of consumers as quickly as possible. The focus is on optimizing the supply chain to reduce the price as much as possible and to offer an aggressive marketing campaign that generates as many new trends as others call obsolete. Fast fashion clothing is usually made from low-quality materials to cut costs, and is usually bought by young consumers who want to keep up with the latest trends.
Fast fashion or  cheap chic  began in the 1990s as fashion designers were under pressure to increase their revenue as department store chains began to create their own lines of cheaper but fashionable clothing , A figurative war began to produce as many clothing trends as possible, much of which were driven by emerging Asian manufactories. A study by Cambridge University showed that people bought one-third more clothes in 2006 than they did in 2002. In addition, people had four times more clothes than in the 1980s. Today, retailers like ZARA, H & M, Primark, Peacocks, New York, C & A, Forever 21, Topshop and many others are synonymous with fast fashion.
. 9 Fast Fashion's Worth
Fast fashion is big business, as you can imagine. But how big is it? Well, according to the latest statistics, the global fashion market is worth about $ 3 trillion-about 3 percent of the world's total GDP and $ 500 billion more than the UK's GDP. The women's fashion industry is $ 621 billion, menswear is worth $ 402 billion, and the rest are children's clothing, sportswear, bridal wear, and all kinds of luxury goods. Fast fashion accounts for $ 1.2 trillion, with $ 250 billion coming from the US alone.
Among the high-earners are people like Doris Fisher with $ 2.7 billion. She and her husband co-founded Gap. Philip and Cristina Green, owners of fast fashion brands like Topshop and Topman, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, are worth $ 5.3 billion. Stefan Persson, the owner of H & M, has a value of $ 19.7 billion, while Amancio Ortega, the owner of Zara, Bershka, Oysho, Zara Home, and Pull & Bear, has net assets of $ 82.5 billion. In 2017, he was the richest man in Europe and the richest trader in the world. For a short time he even surpassed Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Inditex, the parent trading company for all of its other mentioned brands, operates in more than 7,200 stores worldwide.
. 8 Planned Obsolescence
Although fast fashion is not the only one to make use of planned obsolescence it is nevertheless an industry that is fully defined and dependent on it. A planned obsolescence, as the name implies, is an economic strategy in which a product is purposefully made to last for a short time in order to create incentives for continued consumption . Today, a low-cost shirt is designed for around 30 washes, and a pair of cheap trainers holds about 60 miles on average. Until recently, in our history, before synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon became popular, clothing was made exclusively from natural materials such as wool, cotton, silk and linen. These natural fibers are more durable than synthetic fibers and therefore last longer. But next to the fabric itself, clothes were made better 50 years ago and of a much higher quality that they are now.
Daniel Milford-Cottam, a fashion catalogist at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, said in an interview. There are also some deliberate measures to keep the clothes from lasting so long. Some of these "tricks" range from unsuitable fabrics to delicate materials that are roughly sewn – things that speed up wearing and tearing, especially when washing. Most apparel manufacturers are also aware that people usually do not overly scrutinize laundry labels or use too much detergent and take this situation for granted. In addition, many garments are a blend of two or more materials, such as cotton and polyester, which shrink differently during washing, thereby destroying the shape of the clothing. Buttons are also not properly sewn and it is almost guaranteed that they will fall off. The manufacturers also know that many people are too lazy to re-sew, but instead buy a new garment. But hey, what can you expect from a $ 5 shirt, right?
. 7 Fast Marketing
To make this planned obsolescence seemingly go unnoticed by the average consumer, fast-fashion retailers use an aggressive and continuous marketing campaign that always upsets their customers. The sheer amount of new designs and collections that are on the shelves is simply breathtaking. Not so long ago, most fashion labels produced two collections a year – a spring / summer and an autumn / winter collection. But since fast fashion came into play, this number has skyrocketed. Today, most fashion houses offer 18 or even more new collections every year . This means that a garment will become outdated in about a month or less. As a result, statistics show that we only wear these cheap clothes five times on average and keep them in our closets for only 35 days before we throw them away (or just let them collect dust).  There are currently two main strategies in a quick way. One is to invest massively in their new collections, including billboards, TV commercials, sales seasons and marketing TV shows. Primark, on the other hand, works without advertising. Instead, it uses strategies such as store design, shop fitting and visual merchandising to create a pleasant shopping experience and impulse buying.
. 6 Overconsumption
In the 1960s, the average American invested about 25 garments each year. Today there are over 80. About 150 billion new clothes are made every year. That's about 20 for every man, woman and child on the planet. In 2010, an average US-American spent about $ 1,700 for clothing about every year, while the average "manhattanite" spent about $ 362 per month. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that about $ 46.7 billion worth of clothes are in people's wardrobes, which are often never worn.
But as soon as these clothes are outdated or we have no room left in our closets, then nine in ten of them land in the dump. There is a surprising amount of clothes thrown away. An average British man throws away about 66 pounds of clothes (about 235 million pieces for the whole country or about 1.2 million tons per year). An average American is responsible for about 82 pounds. There are an estimated 13 trillion tons of clothing in landfills in the US. Well, to be fair, some fast-fashion companies have some recycling programs trying to curb the so-called "disposable culture," but critics say that this is just a kind of symbolic gesture it only ends up increasing consumption through a "debt-free" feeling for their customers.
. 5 Cheap Work
Back in 1990, half of the clothes you regularly find in stores in the US were made in America. But since Fast Fashion this percentage has dropped to just 2%. And as you can imagine, you also have the number of jobs that revolve around this industry. When 1990 about 900,000 people worked in the apparel industry in the US, that figure dropped to 150,000 in 2011. About 42% of these imports come from China, the rest are shipped from other countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia or Mexico
You probably already know where we are going – exactly where the manufacturing sector went. "Sweatshops" in developing countries. There are currently 75 million people in the world working long hours to produce the many cheap clothes we buy, and 80% of them are women. In fact, the garment industry boasts that it is the best employer for women in the world – which is true. Unfortunately, they often forget to mention that 98% of their employees receive less than a living wage for up to 14 or even 18 hours per workday. In Bangladesh, for example, the median wage is about $ 340 a month. However, the average clothing manufacturer only receives $ 68 a month. This means that these underpaid workers are trapped in a poverty trap that makes it incredibly difficult to escape.
And let's not forget child labor . Currently, more than 168 million children are involved in child labor worldwide – 11% of the world's population of children. And many of them are in the clothing industry . Well-known high street brands such as Nike, H & M, Gap and Adidas have all used the services of offshore manufacturers, which were later exposed to use by children in unsafe conditions.
. 4 The Rana Plaza Collapse 2013
The fashion industry's supply chain network is so intricate and complex that Helena Helmerson, Head of Sustainability at H & M, says that "impossible, the full To have control " of it. And because of this complexity, these world-famous brands always have deniability if something terrible happens or is discovered. As we mentioned earlier, the driving force behind Fast Fashion is to keep the entire supply chain as cheap as possible. If you count on quantity instead of quality, some corners have to be cut, which often means security measures. With increasing demand, manufacturers feel pressured to fulfill this mission, usually by forcing factory workers to work extra hours, and employing their own subcontractor, a kind of "shadow factory," if you will
Im In principle, only authorized factories can manufacture the clothes for any particular brand, but as time has shown us, this is rarely the case. So is North Korea's second largest export to coal textile. China is supplier of North Korea suppliers who make clothes for them, who then deliver them to the United States and the rest of the world. And when child labor is discovered or something bad happens with one of these shadow factories, high-street brands can deny that they have no idea their clothes are made there. Most of these brands have been repeatedly confronted with all sorts of security or child labor irregularities, but always said they had no idea that their clothes were made there. But given that this has been happening for more than two decades and there are no visible improvements, some are beginning to wonder if these brands do not really prefer things to stay that way.
Anyway, the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh is the biggest accident in the world related to clothing. After the collapse of the building in 2013, 1,134 people were killed and another 2,500 were injured. Most victims were engaged in the production of clothing, and many security measures were cut and circumvented to increase profits and fulfill orders. One week after the accident, a meeting was held between retailers and several NGOs to reach an agreement whereby retailers would pay more for clothing bought from manufacturers to improve their safety standards. Of the 29 brands which sourced their products from Rana, only nine appeared for the meetings. Walmart, Carrefour, Mango, Auchan and Kik did not want to sign the agreement. Most of these billion dollar companies found it extremely difficult to put together $ 30 million for the victims' families and only after being more or less forced to do so by the leaders of the G7 summit
. Resource and energy intensive materials
In 2015 the world produced about 155,000 square miles of cloth (about the size of California). Cotton is one of the most abundant of these fabrics which we find in our clothes today. It accounts for around 40% of all fabrics used in the garment industry. But cotton is a particularly "needy" plant. For example, even organic cotton, which seems to be a better choice, still needs about 5,000 gallons of water to produce a T-shirt and jeans. In Uzbekistan, the sixth largest cotton producer, so much water was diverted from its natural flow to irrigate it, namely the Aral Sea (which was actually the largest lake in the world), disappeared almost completely. This was one of the largest man-made disasters in history. And although cotton accounts for only 2.4% of all arable land on earth, it uses 10% of all fertilizers and 25% of all insecticides used in agriculture.
Now, polyester and nylon are the other two main materials that are used to make cheap clothes. Both come from the petrochemical industry and both are not biodegradable. The production of nylon emits large amounts of nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more powerful than CO2). When it comes to polyester, it is estimated that around 70 million barrels of oil are consumed per year. Fortunately, garment manufacturers want to recycle this material – mainly from used water bottles. But while the US recycles only 6% of these bottles, some clothing manufacturers who want to buy this "recycling" badge have begun to buy unused bottles directly from the producer and use them in their clothing. 19659002] In addition, every piece of polyester-based clothing throws around 1,900 individual plastic microfibres on each wash, eventually finding its way into the ocean. These are then eaten by fish and eventually find their way into our own bodies. Scientists have also discovered that 83% of all tap water worldwide is contaminated with these microfibers . The US had the highest concentration of 94%. Fortunately, two inventors have developed a bag that can still catch these fibers in the washing machine. Finally, but equally important and devastating is Rayon . It is a fabric made of pulp, from which more than 70 million trees are cut each year for the production. Viscose, modal and lyocell are all specific types of rayon.
. 2 Your Cheap Clothes Travel More Than You
Although most major clothing conglomerates are based in the United States or Europe, more than 60% of all garments manufactured worldwide are manufactured in developing countries. And the biggest consumers are in the already developed part of the planet on the other side of the world. This means that these clothes have to be transported from one place to another. The same applies to cotton and all other materials that can not be made in the same are the clothes. This means that over 90% of clothing in the world traverses at least one ocean to get into the hands of their owners.
Cotton will most likely travel by truck, train, cargo ship and even plane before it becomes a shirt or jeans. Overall, cotton travels more than the circumference of the earth. Fast fashion accounts for 10% of the planet's greenhouse effect. And when combined with all the other negative effects, such as water consumption and pollution, land degradation and dye toxicity, Fast Fashion achieves second place as the dirtiest and most polluting industry for oil. But hey, it's just a $ 5 shirt, what do you expect, right?
. 1 Slow Fashion
Fast Food and Food Waste Fast fashion and the clothing industry received little attention during the Paris Climate Agreement. This means that even under the most optimistic forecasts, almost nothing is done. But from a better perspective, this means that more can be achieved than the agreement envisages. And this question is in our hands and not in the hands of our governments. Because all we've talked about so far is only half of the equation, while the other half is us, the consumers. And here comes Slow Fashion into play. And as the name implies, this movement focuses on the quality of clothing instead of selling or buying it by truckload.
There are many ways to participate in this kind of slow fashion trends . For example, you could buy your clothes at a thrift store and then bring that garment to a tailor to make it look like yours or design. If you do not have time to search for "hidden treasures," you can search for brands and companies that produce and sell ethical, eco-friendly clothing. There are even some mobile apps like GoodGuide that help you find out more about a specific product – how it was made and what it does to your health and the environment. You could instead buy your clothes from a local small business, or you could even do it yourself. The point is that there are a variety of ways to fight against fast fashion and its negative impact on the world.