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Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last

By Be Quality | Comments: 0 | May 22, 2020

“Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last” is a famous phrase from Vivienne Westwood. It has a great significance at many levels. I personally love this phrase as it expresses the principles of the Slowfashion attitude.

Buy Less as lately we buy much more than what we need. One of the reasons is today there is a big choice of very cheap clothes with many fastfashion brands.

Choose Well refers to choose higher quality products, made in an environmentally friendly process. And better if made with natural fibres. Natural fibres are biodegradable and are better for our skin. It also refers to choose garments made in good working conditions and fair wages, that in ‘low cost fashion’ it is difficult could be guaranteed.

Make it Last is a key on responsible fashion, as every extra season we use a garment we reduce its carbon & water footprint of around 20-25%. If you think of our grandparents or even our parents, we still may use some of their garments as they were made with a higher quality. It is a pleasure to wear them specially because they remind us of our loved ones.

I have also discovered how may fashion be so powerful, to make us buy things we do not need. And some times we don’t even look good on those pieces… Many cannot understand why “buy less, choose well and make it last” could be an option on their lives…

Believe it or not, fashion industry has enourmous impacts on different areas, that many times we do not consider. Many, because it is difficult to see them… For this reason I here below list the different areas in which, in my opinion, fashion industry affects all of us.

Impact of the Fashion Industry at different stages:

  • Natural Resources: Fibres to produce one garment are natural resources, either natural fibres (from plants & animals) either synthetic fibres that are plastic polymers which come from oil. The quantity of garments produced is increasing every year, eventhough we have our wardrobes full. This means we are extracting every year natural resources we really do not need.
  • Exploitation of thousands of people. While working on the traditional fashion industry I was traveling to visit many textile factories around the world. I did realise that modern slavery really exists. Not only because of the low wages, but also for the working conditions. Think of a cheap garment, a €5 euro T-shirt or skirt. Now decompose the costs: taxes, transportation, brand’s profit, fabric… How much do you think the employees get paid? And what about how many hours they work a day? or how are the safety conditions on their working place ?
  • Pollution during the Textile Production Process. The textile supply chain is a long process of chemical and physical transformation of the materials.  In particular, on the production of synthetic & artificial fibres, during the dyeing and the printing process is where the highest pollution comes from. Fashion Industry, as we all know, is the second most pollutant industry after the oil.  As I saw while visiting suppliers in Asia for the companies I used to work for, the environmental laws in many countries are questionable. As it was normal on many dyeing mills to throw the waters into the rivers directly …
  • Pollution by Consumers.  Each time we discard a garment we are creating pollution, specially if it is a synthetic garment. In addition, during the washing of our garments we send to the oceans chemicals from the washing detergent & softeners AND the microplastics. This is because the washing machine cleans the garments by the rotation of the basket combined with water & detergents. This rotation causes the friction of the garments which break the edges of the fibres. This creates micro pieces. When it is a cotton or wool garment, these micro pieces are biodegradable and decompose into ‘food’ to some organisms. This doesn’t happen when the garment is in synthetic fibres. There are many studies which show a high concentration of microplastics on the Mediterranean sea.
  • In the latest years it is reported an increase of cases of textile dermatitis, eczemas & allergies. This is due to the toxic components on the garments. Or to the synthetic fibres that do not allow the skin to breathe, create higher perspiration and even bad smells. More info in this post.
  • Different research studies show that fashion is conditioning greatly our behaviour. One of the most common disorders are fashion addiction or compulsive shopping. As well as many other connected to fashion. The number of people suffering from these behavioural disorders increases over the years. The main reason is that many big companies inundate us with advertisements that trigger our weak points. And tought us to overcome them by shopping. As we know, this doesn’t last for long, so in few days, we are ready to buy something new to feel better. In other words, these fashion groups  lead us more and more to put our attention to our external look. Specially, to follow stereotypes we ‘have to fit in’. Instead of focusing on who we really are. Including to look inside of us, our feelings, our real needs. For this reason we are more unbalanced and vulnerable.

As you see, fashion has an enormous impact at different levels on all of us, on the environment and the workers on the other side of the world. And I hope you can now have more good reasons to have this phrase on mind more often. Like a mantra, specially when a shopping impulse arrives.

Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last

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