Nothing is free, and the true cost of the clothes we bring into our lives must be taken into account more than ever.
We spend far less of our income on clothes today than in the 1950s, but we buy far more. The result, inevitably, is a glut of shoddy, trendy fashion that ends up in the landfill or in the guilt box headed to the thrift store.
Draining an overflowing bathtub a ladle at a time is much less efficient than turning off the tap. Reducing consumer demand for new, inexpensive clothing is key to bringing an industry’s polluting cruise ship back to port.
Sending textile waste to this magical land “far away” is part of the challenge. However, landfills may soon stop accepting textile waste, putting appropriate pressure on industry to take responsibility for the end-of-life of their products.
The fashion industry is, indeed, one of the most devastating for the planet. Its impact is felt most viscerally in developing countries where cheap labor and reduced environmental scrutiny attract companies seeking higher profit margins.
Natural fibers such as cotton are heavily sprayed with pesticides and require large amounts of water. Working conditions are notoriously atrocious. Chemical dyes bleed unfiltered into rivers. Synthetic fibers require oil extraction. And that’s just part of the mountain of dirty laundry in the fast fashion industry.
Instead of the seasonal rotations of the past, we now see a weekly rotation and a disposable, single-use moodboard. Rather than spending time repairing or shopping used, the relatively cheap cost of buying new—and anonymously at that—has lulled some into a comfortable pace of the “hobby” of online shopping. line.
Running naked in the streets is not really a practical solution, despite the summer heat wave. Then what ? By now we all know better, but maybe we just need a little reminder.
Try to buy less, buy quality, buy used or recycled, buy natural fibers and repair instead of landfill. Fortunately, resources that facilitate these good decisions are becoming more commonplace.
Thrift stores are big businesses with prices that keep going up. Supporting small local thrift stores and consignment stores keeps more money in your pocket and in the community.
Avoid the crate with an exchange of clothes – either informal between households with children of the same age, with friends or at the community level. One such opportunity is just around the corner from Powell River on Wednesday, July 6, at Townsite Market, upstairs from 6-8 p.m. Bring only clean, wearable clothes.
Find inspiration by visiting Eunoia Fiber Studio and Gallery, an upcycled fashion boutique that is co-sponsoring the event alongside Townsite Market, Volunteer Powell River, Youth 20/20 Can and the Youth Community Action Team.
Clothes from generations ago are still in circulation because of their craftsmanship. With the scale of fashion these days, bringing items into your wardrobe from your parents’ and even grandparents’ days is actually quite on trend. The planet, however, is more concerned with sustainable consumption than the track.
Whatever you do, keep bringing the clothes you wear to life. Learn how to mend your zipper, sew on a button, or alter a hem, or find someone in your life you can trade those skills with for something you do easily.
Nothing is free and the true cost of the clothes we bring into our lives needs to be considered more than ever. If you’re buying new, ask yourself if you could ever pass the item on to your grandson. What a thought.
Let’s Talk Trash is Qathet Regional District’s waste reduction education program, which aims to help bring the community closer to true zero waste. For more information, email [email protected] or go to LetsTalkTrash.ca.