HURR Champions Sustainable Fashion

More than ever, the spotlight is shining on the fashion industry, and its impact on both people and the planet. As one of the most polluting industries in the world, what can be done to slow down fast fashion?

Slowing Down Fast Fashion

The fast fashion industry has dominated the clothing world, with accessible, cheap clothing and daily stock encouraging consumers to buy more – and more often.

The fast fashion industry creates 52 “micro-seasons” every year, meaning it’s almost impossible to keep up with trends. Driven by catwalk and celebrity-inspired looks, fast fashion focuses on the speed and low cost of delivering frequent new collections. The pressure to reduce costs and production time means that environmental corners are often cut.

From Trends To Trash

With 80 to 100 billion pieces of clothing produced every year (yet trend-led pieces worn just five times by their owner on average) consumers are moving faster than mass manufacturing. The industry can’t keep up – and it comes with a detrimental cost.

The True Cost

Not only does the fast fashion industry generate textile waste, but issues around the use of cheap labour often result in low wages, forced working practices and unsafe conditions. The majority group this effects is women. 

As Ayeshe Barenbla, founder of Remake comments:

“Fast fashion disempowers women. With fast fashion, you trap a generation of young women into poverty. 75 million people are making our clothes today. 80% is made by women who are only 18 – 24 years old. It takes a garment worker 18 months to earn what a fashion brand CEO makes on their lunch break.”

Fast Fashion Is A Disaster For Our Planet

A single pair of jeans requires 9,500 litres of water to be produced. That same pair of jeans emits 34kg of CO2 during the production process, which is similar to taking a car and driving for 111 km. This has serious knock on effects, as cotton (with which denim is made) is a thirsty fabric. The Aral Sea (4th largest sea in the world) disappeared in 2015 as the rivers that flowed into it were diverted to feed cotton crops. The toxic chemicals used to manufacture our clothes also threaten human health swell as well as marine life.

All of this, for an estimated £140 million worth of clothing that goes into landfill by the end of the year.

How what can we do about it?

Shop smart:

Opt for sustainable brands, investing in a capsule wardrobe that will stand the test of time. These companies care about the environment and the people producing your clothes. Take on Livia Firth’s “The 30 Wears Challenge”, and ask the question “will I wear this 30 times” before you buy.

Rent your wardrobe:

Extending the life of your clothes by just 9 months can reduce their water footprint by 25 – 30%. Embracing the sharing economy means you won’t need to purchase “wear it once pieces”, and you can rent the look, without the environmental impact. Compare the economics of buying a £50 knock off that you’ll only wear once, with renting a £500 designer piece for a fraction of the retail price, that won’t be sent to landfill once you’ve worn it.

Get creative:

Remember when we used to repair clothes, rather than throwing them away? Let’s bring it back in fashion. With the power of YouTube, you’ve got access to easy, new-sew DIY hacks to get your creativity flowing.

Be inspired:

Education is key.

Elle Magazine’s September 2018 research found that two thirds of consumers (62%) are unaware that the fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters. 

Our top picks include Stacey Dooley’s recent BBC Documentary “Fashion’s Dirty Secret”, giving insight into the devastating impact of fast fashion across the world, and Andrew Morgan’s “The True Cost” documentary, featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva.

Also, check out Emma Watson’s ethical fashion instagram full of her eco-friendly looks for inspiration. 

To Round Up

We’re on a mission to make renting an everyday occurrence, whilst paving the way to a more sustainable future. Extending the life cycle of a piece of clothing gets us closer to tackling the fashion industry’s bad practices, and connects women through the sharing of their much-loved but overtly under-utilised wardrobes.