Why You Should Shop Second-Hand
Fashion trends are becoming more easily accessible to the public with people everywhere finding daily clothing inspiration from Tiktok to Pinterest. This means that the demand for fast fashion is growing faster than ever before. But these trends come and go quickly, with garments deemed “too 2016” pushed to the back of closets never to be worn again. You may not think of your closet as a source of contamination, but fashion is the world's second-largest polluter after oil.
The environmental impact of fashion is striking. The average cotton t-shirt takes about 715 gallons to produce. This is coupled with the fact that cotton uses more pesticides than any other crop in the world, harming the environment and workers who harvest it. Additionally, garment workers are extremely underpaid and overworked in many countries. Bangladesh, the largest garment employer in the world, pays its workers about $68 a month. After this production, garments are shipped across the world, usually from low to high income countries. And this leaves a massive carbon footprint. In fact, clothing production accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions.
So what can we do to help? Well firstly, try not to succumb to fashion trends. The fast moving pace of popular culture ensures that you will only wear the garments once or twice before they quickly cycle out of trendiness. If you are looking for an item, take a moment and ask yourself if you actually like it or if it’s simply another trend. Secondly, check where you shop. Many places may advertise that they produce “clean” or “green” clothing even if the reality is far from true. Shein isn't the only producer of fast fashion, companies like Urban Outfitters and Pacsun are apart of the problem too. All it takes is a quick google search. There are some clean fashion companies, like Reformation, but most are pretty costly. So the third tip is to shop second-hand. Thrifting and clothing resell stores are better for the environment as they limit garment production. But even so, make sure not to overbuy. We can all do our part to ease the environmental impact of our closets’ if we take a second and ask ourselves if we really need another t-shirt.