'The clothing, shoe and textile industry is one of the largest in the world. It is responsible for enormous pollution and environmental destruction. The industry uses more water than any other, apart from agriculture. It discharges massive quantities of toxic chemicals into the environment, from bleach, lycra, PVC and heavy metals in dyes and leather tanning. It uses huge amounts of energy in the form oil and electricity - used in manufacturing and the production of synthetics - and in shipping and air travel. It is responsible for enormous CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions and must be considered a significant contributor to climate change.' (Katharine Hamnett)
It is appalling to discover what an impact the fashion industry is having on our environment. And how few of us are aware, or even worse, the majority of us who ARE aware continue to turn a blind eye and do nothing about it. This is our planet, and our future that we are putting in danger.
In the last 15 years fashion has become faster and cheaper. Bringing on monthly fashion seasons in many chains instead of what used to be just the two. This is putting a great strain on the production, as if it wasn't pushed enough. Also as we are buying more, we are throwing more away, more and more textiles is being put into landfill each year.
We all think we are doing our recycling bit when the bin man comes and collects our recycling waste every other week. But how often do you recycle your clothes? Do you take old unwanted clothing to charity shops, clothing bins, or tear up old rags for cleaning the windows with? And how many of the clothes in your wardrobe are second hand? Go and have a good rummage in your charity shops, get on eBay, and don't forget...Vintage! its the way to go, you can't compare it to the high street. Clothes simply aren't make like this any more, especially not for these prices! The modern High street can't offer the satin linings, lined button holes and sheer attention to detail that vintage clothes have to offer.
The best vintage shops I have been to are in east london, here are a few:
Absolute Vintage - Hanbury Street, London E1
Rokit - Brick Lane, London E1
Beyond Retro - Cheshire Street, London E2
Though the problem these days, is so many of our clothes are so cheaply made they often aren't up to becoming second hand, its a vicious circle! It requires dedicated regular visits to discover a good find in charity shops today. This is mostly because not enough of us are donating, we ALL need to be shedding things that we just don't wear any more into charity shops this way there will be more choice for EVERYONE.
Though I'm not suggesting that you ditch the high street all together and just buy second hand, but I do think we all need to slow down a tad, everything in moderation right? think about what you buy and how much you really need it in your lives. Do we really need the same top in five different colours? how many pairs of jeans do we REALLY need in our wardrobe? Instead of buying mountains of cheap clothes that we will often only wear a few times, think about investing in a few key pieces that you will love for years instead of months, and if you pick right, they will never go out of fashion, and will be well worth the initial slightly more expensive price.