If you, like us, are a fashion lover, you might be tempted by the latest trends and the low prices of fast fashion brands. You may think that buying new clothes every season is a way to express your style and personality. But have you ever considered the environmental and social impact of your shopping habits? Who created this fashion addiction anyway - it wasn't always like this. And have you ever wondered if there is a better alternative to fast fashion?
Fast fashion is the term used to describe the quick turnover of fashion trends and the move towards cheap, mass-produced clothing. Fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, Forever 21, and others release new collections every week or even every day, copying the latest catwalk styles and offering them at low prices. This might seem like a great deal for consumers, but it comes at a high cost for the planet and the people who make the clothes.
According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the fashion industry is responsible for about 10% of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined1. It also consumes huge amounts of water and energy, depletes non-renewable resources, uses toxic chemicals, and generates massive amounts of waste. The World Bank estimates that global clothes sales could increase by up to 65% by 20302, making the situation even worse. It's time to choose differently. Maybe returning to the way we were before fast fashion brainwashed us into accepting that fashion is disposable wouldn't be such a bad thing.
You know, the days of wearing things for years until they are threadbare, passing them around to friends and family, handing them in to charities to be distributed and sold, and repairing and adapting your clothes to give them a freshen up. A and looking at clothing swaps, second hand clothing and thrift stores as treasure troves rather than with embarrassment.
Fast fashion also has a negative impact on the workers who produce the clothes, mostly in developing countries. They often face poor working conditions, low wages, long hours, health and safety risks, and human rights violations. The tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed more than 1,100 garment workers, exposed the dark side of fast fashion and sparked a global movement to demand more transparency and accountability from the industry. This what KonaCoco has been from Day 1. We journey deeper into sustainability and circularity every day.
So what can you do as a consumer to reduce your fashion footprint and support a more sustainable and ethical fashion system? One option is to invest in quality designer clothing instead of fast fashion. Designer clothing might be more expensive upfront, but it has many benefits that outweigh the initial cost. Here are some of them:
- Quality: Designer clothing is made with high-quality fabrics and materials that last longer and feel better on your skin. They also have refined cuts, stitching, and finishing that ensure a perfect fit and a flattering look. Designer clothing is less likely to fade, shrink, tear, or lose its shape over time. At KonaCoco we tend to buy our fabrics at at least 10x of any fast fashion brand to ensure great quality.
- Durability: Designer clothing can withstand multiple wears and washes without losing its quality or appearance. This means that you can wear your designer pieces for years or even decades, saving money and resources in the long run. You can also repair or alter your designer clothing if needed, extending its lifespan even further. We're always happy to offer advice and feedback on our garments and often provide local contacts for repairs when we have access to them.
- Style: Designer clothing reflects the creativity and vision of talented designers who create unique and original pieces that stand out from the crowd. Designer clothing also follows timeless styles that transcend seasonal trends and can be worn for any occasion. You can mix and match your designer pieces with different accessories to create different looks and express your personal style. This has been an outstanding element of our design principles since day one.
- Exclusivity: Designer clothing is produced in limited quantities or even made-to-order, making it more exclusive and rare than fast fashion. This means that you are less likely to see someone else wearing the same outfit as you, giving you a sense of individuality and confidence. It also means that you are supporting independent designers who value quality over quantity. We champion individual style and repel the fast fashion style-takeover mentality.
- Ethics: Designer clothing is often made with more ethical and sustainable practices than fast fashion. Many designers use organic or recycled materials, natural dyes, renewable energy sources, fair trade principles, and social responsibility initiatives. They also pay more attention to the welfare of their workers and suppliers, ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for human rights. Did you know we use excess factory fabrics, Upcycle our offcuts, refashion and upcycle unsold items, select premium long wearing and energy saving fabrics as well as employing family run businesses?
As you can see, investing in quality designer clothing has many advantages over buying fast fashion. Not only will you look better and feel better, but you will also do better for the environment and our global society. By choosing quality over quantity, you can reduce your environmental impact, support ethical fashion brands, and enjoy your clothes for longer. Dare to develop your own style and mix and match old with new.
We are always open for advise, or private video calls to help you out with styling your clothing or to answer questions about catering and repairing garments. Good quality garments like ours can be worn longer term, transcend fashion trends, are easy to resell and repair.
Interested to see what happen to your fast fashion throwaways? Watch this.
Credit: ABCs foreign correspondent ‘Dead White Man’s Clothes’