Americans throw away an average of 80 pounds of clothing per person each year, according to Newsweek. Fast fashion brands that consistently change out the clothing in their stores cause trends to change so quickly that people are buying more clothes than they’re capable of wearing regularly. The clothes are low quality, though, so pieces often get old after just a few washes.
While I only mentioned a statistic from the United States, people in the U.S. aren’t the only ones constantly buying new pieces of clothing for themselves. And then there are the countries that suffer from fast fashion because of the low pay and bad work conditions that take place in order to continue to offer those low prices for clothing.
Fast fashion continues to exist as long as people continue to consume from brands that are low-quality and inexpensive. So here are some ways you can stop supporting fast fashion (or at the very least support it less) as well as some ways to get rid of clothing without harming the environment.
Buy from ethical brands. Find out which brands are fair trade and work to produce less waste. If you’re not sure where to start looking, here are some lists of ethical brands. There are so many great ideas out there. There are fair trade clothing companies that sell outerwear, swimsuits, sleepwear, jeans, jewelry, and everything in-between. While the clothing from these brands might be more expensive than what you’re used to, the quality is also better.
Shop second-hand. There are so many options if you want to buy previously-owned clothing, and it’s often cheaper than shopping first-hand.
Thrift stores are always a great place to start. Don’t assume they don’t have something without even checking. It might take a little more looking than it would somewhere else, but it’s definitely possible to find something you like and fits you well. If you’re having a hard time, try shopping in thrift stores that are located in nicer neighborhoods. They tend to have better-quality clothing.
Give away or sell good-quality clothes you’re trying to get rid of. If you don’t want to bother with selling your old clothing, ask friends if they are interested in anything you’re getting rid of. You can also donate your clothes to a charity or thrift store.
Recycle old clothing instead of throwing it away. I can’t recommend a specific place where you can take textiles to be recycled, but with some research I’m sure you’ll find a place in your area. There are often stores that will take certain items, so do your research before throwing anything away and sending it to the landfill.