We spoke to the UoB students who are tackling fast fashion one second-hand jumper at a time
Fast fashion produces more carbon emissions per minute than driving a car around the world six times – Oxfam
You know the cycle. You see an item of clothing someone is wearing. You like it. You want it.
So, you buy it from one of the many inexpensive chain retailers at your disposal.
You may even wear the item a couple of times, but before you know it, the piece has disappeared from your fashion rotation, buried under the ever-growing pile of new clothes you’ve consumed.
You eventually find it and chuck it out.
We’re facing a climate crisis and the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world
Fast fashion is defined by the Oxford Dictionaty as, ‘inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends’ and has changed the way we buy and dispose of clothes. By selling large quantities of clothing at low prices, fast fashion has emerged as a dominant business model, leaving a devastating effect on our planet.
It's compounded by the rise in ‘influencers.’ We’re constantly being pressured into buying clothes that we don’t necessarily need or want.
The Bristol Tab conducted a survey, finding that 8 in 10 UoB students had bought an outfit with the intention of wearing it once, only for it to end up in the trash
The Bristol student obsession with fitting a certain stereotype, being ‘edgy’ or simply feeling it necessary to own the most up-to-date clothing is dangerous.
We now seem more concerned about the environment than ever before – every other friend is turning vegan and you're shunned if you get caught using a plastic straw – but with Black Friday just around the corner, are we aware of the damage we’re causing by simply updating our wardrobes, and are we willing to sacrifice our vanity in order to save the planet?
The Bristol Tab spoke to some Bristol students who are doing their bit to curb the phenomenon of fast fashion.
MeWe Fashion is a sustainable fashion brand based in Bristol and run by second year student, Eliza England.
Eliza told The Bristol Tab: "By lending your clothes and renting from other people, you give clothes a longer life cycle than if you were to buy them and chuck them out."
Their objective is to combat fast fashion, while allowing users to earn money by renting out their clothes.
Eliza explained that she set up MeWe when her guilt kicked in from constantly buying cheap clothes and barely wearing them.
She told The Bristol Tab that MeWe is "especially perfect for those dresses you only wear once but don't want to sell, and it's super cheap because you're only renting for a week."
UoB Fashion Forward
UoB Fashion Forward is a Bristol University society whose goal is to make fashion more sustainable.
This Friday 29th November, they are teaming up with ‘BUST’ to host a clothes swap at the SU, giving students the perfect opportunity to switch up their wardrobes before Christmas.
They have previously run an upcycling workshop which aimed to teach people how to rework clothing instead of throwing it away.
77th Shop (Depop: @oliviamenges) is a Depop shop based in Bristol and run by second year students, Olivia Menges and Freya Desoutter.
They aim to provide their whopping 19K followers with the best garms about town, changing the way people perceive second hand clothing, whilst proving that it can be so much better than what you find on the websites of inexpensive chain retailers.
Olivia said: "The production of textiles is responsible for 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually – that's more than all international flights and maritime shipping trips combined, which makes it pretty obvious that we need to get our acts together when it comes to fashion, and quickly too."
By buying into fast fashion, we’re not only contributing to the downfall of humanity and the catastrophic deterioration of our planet, we are contributing to modern slavery too
Today, Free The Slaves researchers estimate that 40 million people are living in slavery and 50% of slavery victims are in labour slavery which includes manufacturing, but when we buy clothes, most of us don’t even consider the ethics behind them.
In October 2017 a 14 year old garment worker died whilst trying to earn a Diwali bonus. Meanwhile in October 2017, fast fashion companies were selling ‘Feminist’ t-shirts for as little as £6… Disgustingly ironic.
Although we have focused our efforts on reducing our meat consumption, making better use of public transport, and getting rid of plastic straws, we have continually ignored one of the biggest contributors to the climate change crisis.
These challenges are not insurmountable, but they’re certainly there and it’s time time we educated ourselves and got our priorities straight. In the words of Vivien Westwood – ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last.’