Capitalism, culture and fast fashion
As we have already investigated, the cost of fast fashion in the climate and global crisis is no longer sustainable. If we persist in buying from Topshop, H&M, Tezenis, Primark and all those other clothing chains that are known to pollute and exploit resources and workers, it means that we do not pay attention to what surrounds us: environment, animals and other human beings.
Fast fashion is one of the last bulwark of the consumer society: at the base of it is assumed the idea of rapid response production rather than attention to the finished product. Zara was the pioneer brand of the fast revolution, which proceeds in simple steps: copying the big fashion brands by mass-producing similar low-cost clothes and thus enticing consumers to visit clothing stores more often.
Each season these shops present us with an unsustainable quantity of products, ready to be purchased, used a couple of times and then replaced the following season with something new. Buy, consume and throw away; this is the imperative to repeat indefinitely until you die.
The dogma of mass consumption and fashion is certainly a necessary determination and implication of the capitalist culture that still vividly permeates the Western way of life. Mainly for girls and boys it is genuinely difficult to get out of the dynamics of fast fashion, because since we are young we believe we must appear in a certain way and must always have the latest clothes and shoes.
A change of course is necessary
In this article for The Atlantic, Elizabeth Cline explains that Americans are buying five times more clothes today than they did in 1980. Due to this increase in consumption, rich countries are producing and exporting more and more clothes each season.
It involves both the increase in pollution caused by fast fashion and the clothes that are discarded and discarded every year. New Yorkers, for example, discard about 193,000 tons of clothing and textiles, which is equivalent to 6% of all the city’s trash. The European Union is not in better shape, given the production of a total of 5.8 million tons of fabrics every year.
The production of a new T-Shirt is closely linked to the overexploitation of environmental resources: to be precise, there are at least two elements not mentioned on the product label, the consumption of 2,700 liters of water and 10 kilos of C02 emissions.
At all stages of textile production, ecosystems suffer lasting environmental damage. One of these damaging effects is the release of greenhouse gases into the air that pollute various ecosystems. Another contributing factor to air pollution is caused by the sum of global transport and the use of heavy machinery, which generates carbon dioxide emissions.
In addition to the release of dangerous gases, various pesticides and dyes are constantly released into the aquatic environment of every area where the fashion industry operates.
What is also not written on most of the clothes we buy and then quickly throw in the trash without thinking about who produced them, is that workers are often exploited and underpaid, most of them in poor foreign countries, mainly without rights and resources.
It is no longer possible to wait for a change of course: from September 2020 an installation in Union Square in Manhattan – the climate clock – marks how many years, days, minutes and hours we still have to avert an irreversible climate emergency.
What to do?
Boycott, reuse and choose consciously. We need a general awareness, even more so after our lives have been destabilized by the pandemic. A habit that has been taking hold since general lockdown periods is buying online and having parcels delivered to your home, trying on clothes, and sending them back if they are not okay.
This fast fashion “post” that does not even require the effort to leave the house to consume is even worse, it makes us even more automated and unaware of what we do: already the two back and forth sections of the delivery man who takes us home the product is an unnecessary surplus of pollution. You need to reflect on your actions
It is necessary to take a stand: do not buy if it is not strictly necessary (how many times is it strictly necessary?), Reuse, exchange clothes, continue to use what we have in the closet until it is literally unusable, until it is exhausted.
When you need to buy, then, you have to do it in places where we know what happens in the production chain, there are many brands, including Italian ones, who work in a sustainable way and are committed to a future of fashion capable of satisfying the value of the product. and the work of those who produce it.
Another sustainable solution is to buy in vintage shops, which exactly aim not to produce further clothes, to use already produced things to avoid further exploitation of resources.
Laura is about to get a degree in Philosophy at the University of Padua. She is passionate about ancient Greek theatre and contemporary philosophy. She is also curious about Digital Marketing, particularly the one that concerns Social Networks. Happy to collaborate with a magazine that promotes an ethic and sustainable lifestyle.