Why I Buy Second Hand

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In this day and age we all must by aware and careful of our carbon foot print and what effect our decisions are having on this world. Up until recently I never fully understood the harsh reality of how bad fast fashion is. Up until recently I have only ever known the horrendous ways in which leather and fur are manufactured….I am not going to get into the nitty gritty of it, but if you want cruelty free fashion steer clear from animal skins as there is nothing beautiful about it!!

Due so some research I have been doing over the last few weeks and my obsession with all things Nikki Reed I began to look into what exactly ethical and sustainable fashion really means and to be totally honest I was quite disgusted with myself that is wasn’t something I have done previously. If you haven’t seen True Cost Documentary I urge you to watch it now.  It gives interviews with people who are unfortunately, the equivalent of modern day slaves working in sweat shops, getting beaten and bullied, getting little to no pay and little to no safety measures are being taken into account when it comes to their life’s in these sweatshops or the chemical cotton fields. Not to mention the huge impact Fast Fashion manufacturing is having on our environment from deforestation to highly dangerous toxic chemical releases into rivers, lakes and oceans. Just to be clear a few decades ago, fashion came and went every season (before that it was summer and winter), but now due to greed of retail giants, we have been mislead into buying something new from shop shelves every two weeks almost. That’s right every two weeks, these shops will have new *must have* garments for us to buy and unfortunately the planet and the people making our clothes are the ones who suffer. 

I have compiled a list of reasons as to why Fast Fashion is not the way forward and why I buy most of my clothes secondhand. 

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Image from trustedclothes.com
  1. What is Fast Fashion anyway…

Well let’s jump right into this….and I am going to be blunt. Fast Fashion is nothing more than the fashion industry being greedy and trying to make as much money as possible, through what ever means possible and most of the time, to be able to manufacture so many clothes at such a fast speed, that everything important is compromised, such as where the materials come from, how they are sourced, how they are made and who actually makes them. The people who make the big money for doing very little, do not care about any of that once money is coming in and making their pockets fatter.

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Image from cleanclothescampaign.com

2. Who Actually Makes Your Clothes??

To be able to manufacture such a high volume of clothes in such a short space of time, someone will suffer and in fast fashion land the people suffering  are the very people who make your clothes. From the cotton pickers, who spend days spraying chemically altered cotton so that it will grow faster, imagine what this does to their health. Then there are the factory workers who also have to touch the chemically altered cotton, in very bad working conditions with ‘superiors’ who threaten to beat them if they do not reach certain outrageous targets and deadlines for very little money, sometimes not even the bare minimum to get by and then there is the child slave labour aspect to it all. Many children will be sold and forced to work in these industries (either to support their families or to pay of debts). The owners and bosses within these factories do not care about the health and safety of their employee’s (take the Rana Plaza for example). In True Cost we can see that health and safety is still not high on the list of importance for these human lives as fire exits are being locked so that the workers are forced to stay and work, when one worker tried to set up a union within the company she worked for, herself and some other women who supported with the union were told to come into a room for a meeting and then the door was locked and they were all beaten….. purely because they tried to seek out their human rights against greedy people in power. 

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Image from ivevo.com
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Image from feelgoodwardrobe.com

3. The Impact On the Environment

Fast Fashion doesn’t care where it comes from, it also doesn’t really care how it’s made or where it ends up…. all fast fashion case about is how much it will make. To produce the amount of clothes we see on the rails in shops every two weeks now, the fast fashion industry must make the fibres of clothes with more chemicals and nastys. Those nastys need a huge amount of energy and oil to be manufactured, causing deadly carbon emissions. The waste from this manufacturing will usually end up in landfills for decades decaying and rotting up into the air and down into the land, more waste from the harmful toxic chemical dyes and materials from the manufacturing of these clothes will end up rivers, lakes and oceans causing huge problems for our eco systems. Then there is oil, diesel and petrol emissions from the transportation of these clothes shipped, flown and drove world wide, the bags in which they are put into when sold (not to mention all the manufacturing that goes into the bags and how plastic bags are one of the most damaging and harmful killers to the animals and ecosystem on this planet), then once the clothes are no longer in fashion how the are either disposed of wrongly and thrown into a bin and ending up in a landfill staying there for decades rotting or how they are given away or to a charity shop (side not recycling clothes you do not want anymore is the best thing you can do), where they can be loved in a hew home, given to someone who maybe cannot afford to by clothes, sent to a less fortunate country where they can be given away, failing that they will end up in a dump rotting away. This is why it is so important to dispose of clothes properly before they end up in a landfill to rot. 

That’s Fast Fashion and that is what people are continuing to support by feeling like they must have newest and latest fashion statement ASAP!! But girls……. this is ridiculous, there are new styles in every two weeks, at least. Whereas it used two be every four months. There is no easy way to combat fast fashion. We can’t completely boycott all risky shops, as then all these workers would loose their jobs. However for the environment, we should ask ourselves do we really NEED a new garment before we purchase it, as most likely it will end up in a landfill rotting away for decades. What we do need to do is to put pressure and all major brands affiliated with sweatshops to; maximise workers rights within factories, have a safe work environment, get paid a fair wage, have employers who actually give a sh*t about their employees (not just about money and a sense of power) and to do regular active checks that cannot be compromised. 

 

Some useful video links

Rana Plaza Documentary

True Cost on Netflix

Fashion Factories Undercover 

 

Is there anything you can add to this or any links you can send on? Please let me know at irishmountainchild@gmail.com

x

Saoirse.

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