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Digital Subscriptions > Be Kind > June 2019 > Why fast fashion is destroying the planet

Why fast fashion is destroying the planet

Tara Bloom catches up with our throwaway culture

Clothing shops need your custom and they have developed the perfect way to get it and keep it – the method? Fast fashion. Retailers compete to have the most interesting, constantly changing collections that mean you always have something new to look at and spend money on. Over the last 15 years, they have developed new manufacturing techniques that allow them to reduce the time between design and the product sold, and shops most known for this are Zara (zara.com), H&M (hm.com), Topshop (topshop.com) and Primark (primark.com).

Zara is one of the forerunners in this shift in the way fashion is produced – they deliver new clothing to their stores twice a week and produce over 30,000 different designs every year. Clothing produced in this way is marketed as cheap, easily available and disposable. Most fast fashion is in the shops for 4-6 weeks before being replaced with new styles. And it works – the average Briton purchases over 27 kilos of clothing a year, enough to fill a large suitcase.

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About Be Kind

Hello, Fashion has always been a strong form of expression for me; I’ve pored over glossy issues of Vogue from a young age, and get a thrill when the seasons change, and with them, the excuse to spend on new and exciting pieces for my wardrobe. With the rise and ease of shopping online it has become easier and quicker to get my hands on the latest styles, and it’s with a mixture of shame and excitement I go and collect my deliveries from the post room at work. But recently I realised the frequency and level of my spending was getting out of control – ‘I can just send it all back’, I’d foolishly reason with myself. It wasn’t until I read about the environmental impact of the fashion industry that I started to think about the part I was playing myself. Those next day deliveries have to be picked, packed and couriered, using man power and fuel. The bargain £5 tops come at a greater price, too – how can workers possibly be getting paid fairly to make them? And the fabrics surely can’t be ethically-sourced either? Fast fashion is alluring and tempting – it’s a quick and easy way to make us feel good, temporarily, but the damage it’s doing to the environment doesn’t sit well with me. So, I’ve vowed to make a change and to choose more sustainable ways to shop. This month we’ve looked into the issues surrounding fashion, from body image to throwaway culture, and found alternative ways for you to enjoy clothes, whilst being kinder to the planet. Have a great month, Phillipa Editor