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Is your night out killing the planet? How fast fashion isn’t just about last season

The impact of the one-night outift

clothes swap environment fashion fast fashion global warming night out

I’m sure we all know someone who would rather be seen dead than in the same outfit twice. Those pictures from your mate’s birthday or that Insta post from your cousin’s wedding means that outfit you bought especially can never be worn again.

But it’s just a small niche group of extreme fashionistas who have this rule right?

I did a survey of students to find out and results show that actually the chances are you’re just as guilty.

Nine in ten people I asked said they had specifically bought an outfit for a night out knowing they would never wear it again. I know I’ve certainly done it and the only thing that may have made me think twice about my purchase was simply 'could I afford it?'

But recent research shows that something much bigger than my student overdraft limit should have been weighing on my mind.

Climate change is one of the main issues affecting our futures and the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter behind oil.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee recently said there is a basic problem with a billion-dollar industry that relies on persuading people to throw away good clothes because they are “last year’s colour”.

Or even worse, last night’s Facebook upload.

As students, it is clear that our ‘harmless push for likes’ is actually contributing to this worldwide problem. So how can we change our approach to the weekly booze up?

In 2013, Southampton University started the first ever university swap shop which saw 156 students donating and swapping their clothes. Rather than throwing out that one-night-wonder, they not only gave someone else a great outfit, but they also got one in return for free.

Oxfam estimates 2.4 billion items of clothing are sitting in our wardrobes unused and unloved.

I asked Sheffield students if a clothes swap service was introduced on campus, would they use it and 80% said absolutely.

John Johnson said: “It’s a win-win. You get a great new outfit that no one’s seen but you’re not buying more new clothes and adding to the landfills. Plus you’re saving money too!”

I spoke to the Students' Union’s development officer, Mel Kee, about the prospect.

She said: “I think clothes swap services are a great idea and I would love to promote it more in the SU.

“It needs engagement from students and therefore I think a first step is to spread awareness of why this is so important.”

So maybe next time we head to town to buy our pre-drinks and that cute new crop top that ‘just really matches the vibe of the night’, we can sacrifice a little vanity in aid of stopping this increasingly damaging problem.