Avoiding fast fashion & making the most of what you've got...

Australians are addicted to cheap fast fashion. Australians buy on average 27 kilograms of new clothing and textiles each year and then we discard about 23 kilograms of textiles* into landfill or charity shops (Milburn, 2017). The vast amount of clothing we throw away is overwhelming charitable recycling organisations who are spending a staggering amount sending unusable donations to landfill or to the rag trade in the third world. It seems Australians are addicted to fast fashion's idea of built in obsolescence which encourages a purchasing cycle of buy, discard, repeat. 

An increasing amount of clothing is made from synthetic fibres. Polyester, acrylic and nylon are synthetic fibres which are made from petroleum and are a type of plastic (Milburn 2017). While cheap to produce, when washed synthetic fibres release thousands of microfibers into the waste water. These tiny plastic particles eventually find their way into our rivers and oceans with a range of negative impacts. Two-thirds of the clothing we discard are made from synthetic fibres that may take 200 years or longer to break down. This trend sees us actively pollution our planet with plastic. 

We have the power to change these fashion trends and make a positive difference. We can rebel against the fast fashion industry by buying less and choosing items that are value in terms of quality and not as a monetary term.  We can select styles that are timeless fashion pieces. Items that we will love to wear over and over. If we love and value our clothes, then we will want to repair them when needed by learning how to fix a stray thread or a loose button. We can can reclaim these life skills. We all need to buy less, choose quality, select natural fibres and learn to repair.

We can all take positive action. Consider these ideas:

  • Buck the fashion fashion trend and repeat your outfits - you don't need to be wearing a new outfit every week.

  • Buy quality clothing that you will absolutely love to wear for many years.

  • This week is Wool Week! Check the label on garments and choose natural fibres such as wool or cotton.

  • Learn to fix or mend your textiles. Visit our local repair cafe at Canberra Environment Centre to learn how or look at one of the clips below.

  • Wear your clothes with flair. Use accessories to add interest and consider visible mending on your jeans.

  • Try a "buy nothing new" challenge for a few months. It will save money and make you appreciate what you already have.

  • Team up with a group of friends and do a seasonal clothing swap.

  • Buy clothes second hand. Material Pleasures is a local second hand shop specialising in designer goods.

  • Encourage ethical clothing choices with the Good on You app.

Further reading:
Ethical Clothing Australia Accredited Businesses 
New Report Shows Sustainable Fashion Efforts are Decreasing
Sustainable shopping: where to find a puffer jacket that doesn’t warm the Earth
How wool is solving your sustainable fashion dilemmas one fibre at a time
Visible mending: punk’s not dead, just patching itself up
The people vs fast fashion

Show me how:
Boro stitching how-to: visible mending
How to Repair a Hole in a Sock with Darning
Mend A Sweater: Those Darn Holes!

Don't forget to join Zero Waste Revolution at Bowen Park this Saturday (1 June 9am-1pm). We have teamed up with Seaside Scavenge to bring Canberra its very own Lakeside Scavenge! The idea is that you collect local trash, swap it for tokens and then trade your tokens for second hand items such as books or clothing. Find out more about the scavenge here or on Facebook 

*included carpets

fashionMia Swainson