We are getting closer and closer to the hot girls summer and the preparations are in full swing. The IMA is packed (not that I’m going, but I hear so) and the shops on the Ave are flooded with college students gearing up for the 70-degree days.
Much of the hot girl summer mentality revolves around having fun, hugging friends, and having a good time during the warmer months. It’s also about being as hot as possible, and part of that is refreshing your summer wardrobe. What the hot babes don’t take into account is the impact this trend is having on our planet.
The need to have an ever-rotating closet filled with the latest trends for each season is an ongoing theme that isn’t specific to summer. Keeping up with the Joneses is a fad that will likely never go out of style. Every time I go for a walk on the quad, my design skills are put to the test when I see what stylized outfits the students designed that day. Fast fashion has society in its stranglehold and we are all to blame.
I love looking cool. I bought the Air Forces just like you did and I lost the skinny jeans a long time ago. Congratulations Generation Z, we’ve pushed the nation to buy more mom jeans.
To a small degree, this hurts our bank account – I can feel the money leaving my account as soon as I walk past Urban Outfitters. It can also be detrimental to our mental well-being. Many feel anxious walking into a class without a claw clip in tow. The constant need to change our clothes to impress the masses can affect our mental health.
What really hurts not only us but future generations is the way fast fashion is affecting our environment. The constant need to reposition ourselves in relation to our clothing highlights the already prevalent issue of climate health.
While shopping at thrift stores (thanks to whoever rebranded this as ‘thrift’) is a great way to be a more sustainable consumer, a lot of our used goods go elsewhere. They move from your closet to landfills. That may seem unproblematic to us – out of sight, out of mind, right?
Not correct. The pressure of fast fashion to improve our style means that a lot of clothes go to waste if we’ve only worn them for six months. The Northeast Recycling Council reports that 83% of used clothing from our drawers and closets ends up in the landfill. Donating is a step in the right direction, but we also need to stop over-consumption.
According to the Northeast Recycling Council, manufacturing is the second largest polluting industry in the world after oil and gas. Not only is there a question of where our clothes go when we’re done with them, but also the environmental cost of production.
“To put this in perspective, it takes 10,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton, or about 3,000 liters of water to produce one cotton shirt,” Ngan Le said in an article for the Princeton Student Climate Initiative.
The energy it takes to make the clothes, shoes and accessories we consume en masse harms our planet. The more we buy, the more clothes are made. It’s all about supply and demand, baby.
“Approximately 840 million pieces of clothing Zara makes each year quickly end up in landfills and consumers have to buy new ones, which adds to the production cycle,” Arrianna Towner told the Earth Island Journal.
These products are made cheaply so that we can buy them cheaply. But then we have to buy more items sooner because the clothes can’t withstand wearing for a long time. It’s a win-win for the companies as you buy it once and then come back to refill it in a few months. The more clothes that are made, the more waste ends up in our landfills, creating a vicious cycle that is being played out on the planet.
I love shopping as much as anyone, but my fun pastime doesn’t help create a greener environment. In fact, it drains many of our resources. Suffice it to say that you may not need these new documents in the summer. Wear your old Converse or paint them when they get too old and dingy. I’d say that’s pretty much on-brand for this generation.
Reach author Samara Boyce at [email protected] Twitter: @SamaraBoyce_
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