For the love of the planet by Alana Sorokin
Becoming conscious for the cause Why trash it, when you can spin it into a pair of shorts – by Alana Sorokin, Founder of Joseph & Alexander
The culture of fast fashion focuses on delivering clothing items inspired by the latest trends in a speedy manner, which does not actually bode well for our environment. This phenomenon, which caters to all demographics, has seen the production of clothes double over the last 15 years, and sadly, levels of global waste have skyrocketed in parallel. A shock-inducing 235 million items of clothing were sent to landfills around the UK in 2017, while over 15 million tons of textile waste continues to be generated in the United States every year. One could say it’s our love for fashion that has trumped our environmental conscience.
The immense demand for affordable, fast moving, on-trend pieces fuels huge competition among the big name brands to produce fast and cheap. Millions of laborers in garment manufacturing countries such as India, Bangladesh, Cambodia are paid less than minimum wage to make the clothes we pick up on the high street. The nature of the business means fast fashion brands want to keep their profits high and costs down, so they will move orders to whichever factory will produce it cheapest. To get the work, factories often compete to pay the lowest prices. They slash wages and cut corners on health and safety. Workers remain powerless. It’s a race to the bottom. This fact alone should trigger the stark realization that we must take serious heed of the impact our wardrobes have on the planet. What can we do about it? The answer is simple, we must become conscious of the cause, and here’s how.
There are many local recycling banks where you can take your bags of used clothing and effectively have the pieces recycled. This simple and easy action can make the world a better place by reducing carbon footprint, freeing up land previously used for landfills, and conserving energy. Council for Textile Recycling disclosed that recycled garments can be turned into valuable clothing; almost half of the post-consumer textile waste is typically sold to developing countries to create local businesses.
One way to keep money in the bank and save the environment at the same time is to learn the basics of ‘survival’ sewing. A skill that was carried over from generation to generation to preserve clothing during times of ration is no longer considered an issue for millennials who can easily access cheap throwaway fashion at a click of a button. A simple stitch or two can ultimately renew a broken sweater and if you’re creative enough, you can turn ‘self-taught designer’ and even craft your entire wardrobe using existing worn-out garments, and produce one-of-a-kind statement pieces that proudly have your blood, sweat, and tears entwined.
eBay is a great trusted e-commerce marketplace to sell your old clothes instead of chucking a sweater in the bin. Who knows what the bidding can amount to? You may be potentially throwing away more money than you originally bought the piece for. As for “out of season” designer items you envisioned you would wear every day but evidently only wore once, consider dropping them off at a consignment second-hand designer store or thrift boutique – designer label lovers will thank you for it and so will the planet.
Whilst helping to protect the environment you can also help others in need with regular donations. If you have items of clothing that are in ‘good condition’, consider taking them to a local charity or homeless shelter. Whilst we may enjoy the financial luxury of keeping up with seasonal trends, others do not even have the means to afford clothing. Look to helping as many people in need as possible by donating to different causes, from disaster relief to shelters and hospitals, there will always be someone out there who will cherish your clothes.
For more information about the brand and online orders visit: www.josephandalexander.com