Failing My Anti Fast Fashion Challenge

In June 2019, I signed up for an anti fast fashion challenge, where for the next 100 days, I would not purchase any new clothes.

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is the concept of buying items for one occasion, such as a party, never wear the item again, and then to the trash heap it goes. This view of disposable fashion has become the new norm, with more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing ending up in landfill every year.

Why am I writing this? Yes, I am a travel blogger and although on the surface this may not seem like it has much to do with travel, but the environmental consequences of disposable fashion effects the world around us. From the dyes used to make clothes, water consumption, working conditions, pollution and waste. There is a far reaching impact of our insatiable consumption.

The Challenge

I signed up with CollAction that from 21st June to 21st September, to take a stance and pledge to not buy any new clothes. The rules state that we are able to trade or purchase second-hand, but nothing new off the shelf.

At first I thought that this would be fairly easy. For the last 6-12 months I have been purchasing most of my clothing from eBay, as well as lots of second hand items from my parent’s boss. I also attended a visual repair workshop, on how to repair holes and damages in a unique way, making a feature of them. I thought the only real challenge would be underwear!

For my birthday I didn’t ask for any items, I continued to sell items that no longer fitted on eBay, and get summer dresses for the heatwave off eBay too. I didn’t buy any clothing for my husband or sister’s birthdays. So far so good.

It wasn’t until I received 4 t-shirts in the post from eBay did it hit me. Although I purchased them on eBay, they were from retailers, brand new items and it took me over a week to even realise! I also didn’t count my shoes from New Look as part of the problem.

The A-Ha Moment

In my 100 days, I purchased 7 items brand new (including two pairs of shoes). Which is not a lot, especially by today’s standards, but my lightbulb moment was were I hadn’t even thought about where my clothes were coming from? Was it brand new? How conscious was the manufacturer? I hadn’t even considered any of this.

My other lightbulb moment was how hard it was to dispose of clothing. I had a few items that had been damaged beyond repair or not worth selling or donating. I contacted several difference companies but it is was small amounts they wouldn’t take it. It took me weeks to find somewhere, and luckily this is now actually part of my regular garbage disposal (clothing, plastic, paper etc…).

This is not a lecture.

I am not passing judgement on those who are into fast fashion.

For many people this is the expectation of themselves, their family, their workplace to have a continuously changing wardrobe. This pattern and behaviour has been normalised with the evolving trends and collections at reasonably priced high street stores over the last 15 years plus.

This is a prompt to consider the items you purchase and where they come from and their impact on the world.

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