Reversing the damage: Why fashion sustainability is important

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Fast fashion is increasing overall pollution and consumers questions their contribution to such brands.

Ella Litchfield, Photo Manager

Fashion sustainability has been a long-standing debate amongst consumers that argues the importance of an environmentally conscious lifestyle. 

In recent years, worried buyers have focused on the many large businesses which use irresponsible methods to create fast, cheap products that further harm the environment.

This issue also takes into consideration those who cannot afford a sustainable lifestyle and points them towards thrift shopping. How does this affect those who appreciate rotating trends and want to buy older styles from thrift stores even if they can afford new clothing? 

Maddie Smithers, a senior at PV, addresses her approach to thrifting and how it takes part in her efforts to be sustainable.

“It is important to reverse the environmental impact of our world through sustainable fashion. I want to be able to purchase clothing from thrift stores so that I’m helping our environment and don’t drain my bank account,” Smithers said. “However, it is difficult to purchase sustainable clothing when it is more expensive than normal stores.” 

While there are many factors of concern for thrift shopping, it still maintains a purpose of helping to reverse the damaging pollutants that have taken place over time. 

The Student Environment Resource Center at University of California,  Berkeley claims that the process of thrift shopping can benefit nature through ensuring: “Less clothing in landfills. Americans alone throw away about 10.5 million tons of clothing every year. It wasn’t always like this. Less than 100 years ago clothing used to be a big investment. In the 1950s people spent about 20 percent of their income on clothes.”

Companies that fall into the textile and garments industry use the most water for their production. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, this amounts to “around 93 billion cubic metres of water annually — the equivalent to 37 million Olympic swimming pools.” 

Compared to the thrifting process, which saves the production of clothing on every garment purchased. On average, World Wildlife (WWL) reports this to be “2,700 liters (of water) to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt.” Consumers must take part in reversing these actions if companies are to follow trends.

As a whole, there must be a common goal in trending styles so that the fashion industry can increase the usage of sustainability. If consumerism continues as it is presently, the United Nations have explained that scientists determine that we have ten years to reverse the effects before there is lost hope. 

The progress of sustainability can be further manipulated and increased as buyers choose to purchase from environmentally conscious companies. Only through this practice can the damage to our natural environment be reversed.

Students have begun to take notice of what remains at stake for their environmental future. 

Mariana Garza at PV takes interest in science and has an opinion on our next steps.

“Throughout my years at PV, this topic has been popularized and pushed to benefit our future generations,” Garza shared. At this point, we don’t have an option of whether or not to purchase fashion sustainably. This is one of the largest industries of pollution and purchasing recycled clothing can help greatly in reversing pollution.” Garza stated that this can be a major change in our current state to focus on the fashion industry. 

The initiative to primarily wear sustainable clothing can transition our world for the better. Consumers can lead the charge to force companies to change their harmful, out-of-date practices that hurt the environment. As a joint community, Generation Z can remove the damage of past groups for a more prosperous future environment.