Fast Fashion Fueling Push For Sustainable Apparel, Lower Impact On Environment

By Lorraine Mirabella
The Baltimore Sun

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As columnist Lorraine Mirabella explains, “Fast fashion,” is a term borrowed from the fast-food industry, in which brands and online sellers respond to trends and make chic and affordable items quickly.

The Baltimore Sun

Browsing clothing racks at Savers in Parkville, Md., Mariah Lamm stumbled upon some good deals: a Tahari suit for work and a skirt, vest and accent scarf for going out, all for about $30.

The 22-year-old Towson woman makes frequent trips to the thrift superstore, and not just for the steep discounts.

Buying used clothing, she says, lets her do her part to curb fashion’s growing impact on the environment.

While others her age look for the latest styles from H&M or websites ASOS or Missguided, Lamm is part of a growing movement to embrace sustainable fashion, keeping apparel in use as long as possible, and then recycling it. She shops almost exclusively at secondhand stores.

Traditional brands such as Under Armour, Gap, H&M, and Levi Strauss & Co. have begun to join in, too, taking steps to boost sustainability.

Outerwear maker Patagonia, a longtime champion of the environment, is going so far as to challenge consumers to think before they buy about whether they really need something new.

“It takes so many natural resources to create the clothes, and they end up in landfills,” said Lamm, who graduated this year from Goucher College with a major in environmental sciences. “And we are producing much more clothing than we need. When you’re buying secondhand clothing, it’s a closed-loop system.”

The push toward a circular economy has been fueled in no small part by the rise of “fast fashion,” a term borrowed from the fast-food industry, in which brands and online sellers respond to trends and make chic and affordable items more quickly and more cheaply than ever before. Consumers are being hooked into expanding and quickly refreshing wardrobes, treating low-priced items as disposable.

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