Fast fashion. It’s the buzzword that is often thrown around in today’s media, but what does it mean and why is it a problem?
In previous decades, the fashion industry would have had two seasons - summer and winter. However, in the last 20 years, we have seen a rapid shift from two to fifty two seasons a year, with online fashion brands boasting about ‘new styles added every week.’
This is due to a shift in the fashion industry. Before the 1980s, the ability to predict future fashion trends was what made a fashion brand successful. But today it's the speed at which fashion brands can replicate the latest trends and stock garments for sale in stores and online - hence the term ‘fast fashion’.
As fashion brands are racing against time, the public are competing with each other on wearing the latest fashion before anyone else. With such a quick turnover of trends and everyone rushing to the stores to make sure they are constantly deemed fashionable, you can imagine the volume of clothes purchased and only worn a handful of times before claiming the back of the wardrobe as their new home.
This drive to consume has left us with astonishing figures, with an estimated £30 billion worth of clothing collecting dust in our wardrobes, according to WRAP. From an environmental perspective, the new clothing bought by one house annually produces the same amount of carbon emissions emitted by a car driving 6,000 miles. The water used to clean these new clothes could fill over 1000 bathtubs - and let's not even get started on microfibres...
Although the data may sound all doom and gloom, there is plenty that you can do within your business to prevent contributing to the harmful effects of the fashion industry.
At First Mile’s recycling headquarters, we have set up a Swap Shop within our office!
Swap Shops are really simple to organise and can encourage a much greener office culture. Simply source an old wardrobe (buy one from a second-hand shop or make space in your workplace coat cupboard), or invest in a clothes rail. Ask colleagues to bring in their pre-loved clothes that they no longer want and let this wardrobe flourish into a space where colleagues can easily exchange their items. For each item taken, another is donated, so the show keeps going year-round. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure as the saying goes!
In addition to this, as a recycling company, First Mile offer a textile recycling service for all of your garment recycling needs, including old clothes, shoes and even scraps of fabric.
Our Swap Shop has had a lot of success, and you can do the same! Why not take matters into your own hand and take a step towards creating a greener work culture by setting up your own Swap Shop?