Written by: Lilly Peeters

Did you know that sweatshop workers in Bangladesh officially earn 92 US dollars per month. Some workers are even paid less than this minimum. 

One of my favorite things to do is shopping, looking for clothes online and browsing through Pinterest for fashion inspiration. My closet is full with clothes, even clothes I don’t wear anymore. Occasionally I have to throw away another piece of clothing since it has ripped, or the quality has decreased. I think a lot of you can relate to this. But have you realized it is also very bad for the environment to buy clothes? Especially from fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara, Asos and Shein. 

Fast fashion clothing brands sell cheap and trendy clothing, usually with bad quality fabrics and produced in unsafe working conditions. Many of the people who work in fast fashion factories also get very low wages. Countless human rights are violated in these factories. According to The World Counts, 250 million children between 5 and 14 are forced to work in sweatshops for up to 16 hours per day. Can you imagine the impact this has on these children. Besides child labour, to make it cheaper for these brands to produce, they use inexpensive and low-quality materials like polyester. Now you know why your clothing rips after only one or two years. 

Additionally to the bad working conditions and low quality fabrics, fast fashion has a huge impact on the planet (not in a good way). According to the United Nations (2018) the fashion industry, including the production of all clothes which people wear, contributes to around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production. The industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined. 

So, what can you do? 

  1. Buy clothes from sustainable fashion brands. There are countless sustainable fashion stores like Kuyichi, Unrecorded and Noumenon. These brands are better for the environment and have higher quality fabrics, which makes these brands also more expensive. For many people it is not an option to buy expensive clothes. But don’t worry, there are many more sustainable options! 
  1. Go to a thrift store. There is a reason that these clothes have lasted for years, because they usually have been made from high quality fabrics. Not only are they long lasting, but also very cheap!
  1. Give or sell your clothes to others. There are many ways to sell your clothes nowadays. You can sell them on Vinted, eBay or even Instagram. If you don’t feel like asking for money you can also donate your clothes or give them to your friends, maybe do a swap.  
  1. Learn how to sew clothes. Have you ever had a hole in your favorite jeans and decided to just throw it away? Well, if you learn how to sew you don’t have to anymore. Here is a link to a WikiHow article on how to sew clothes. If you find it too difficult, maybe ask your mom.  
  1. Lastly, buy less clothes. You don’t need that cropped top in that funky color from Shein that you’re never going to wear. Just think about everything you buy; ‘’Am I really going to wear this and when?’’. If not, don’t buy it. 

If you want to know more about being sustainable check the article of Mirre, Treat the Climate with Kindness - Daily tips.