By Dianne Miller for Imaginet

It seems lumo green might be the fashion “must-have” this summer season but is it going to still be around next year? Fast fashion is changing the industry as well as the mode of manufacturing and pricing; which leads to the question what is disposable fashion?

The making of wearable garments is changing the way we purchase each season and how much the common consumer spends on disposable fashion. Young girls in particular are caught in the web of the latest styles and colours. However, when the next season rolls around their cupboards show dated designs and the shocking colours cannot be worn with the newest shade of pink or orange. Since fashion fundis are making fashion affordable, we buy more and our closets are full. So.. to make way for the latest look…. We simply give away or sell our clothes for a fraction of their original price.
By making fashion affordable the clothing is tempting and disposal is painless. “Well,that only cost R85.. I wore it six times. It’s got to go !” and… and it’s tossed out.
Yet fast fashion turnover has a pollution footprint. Each step of the life cycle of our clothing needs is generating some environmental and occupations damage.
Polyester, which is used in so many different garments today, is made from petroleum. In the fashion industry the demand for increased production to meet the demand has nearly doubled in the last 15 years. To make polyester and synthetic fabrics a lot of energy intensive processes are put into play. A large amount of crude oil is needed and this processing is known to release emissions which contain acid gases and hydrogen chloride.. agents guilty of leading to some respiratory issues or illnesses. There is also waste water from the manufacturing of these man- made fibres which are listed as hazardous to our environment.

Of course polyester is not the only fabric which leaves behind a negative environmental trail. Cotton manufacture and weaving also can lead to tainted environmental elements. Even the growth of cotton accounts for a huge number of pesticides which impact the air around the plantations and the ground in which it is grown.

However, where would we be without the prints and patterns we use to make our world a brighter and better place ! Many regulations and standard of production have been brought in to the industry to minimize the environmental risks. But, it is said that the biggest impact can be made by the consumer.
By using detergents that work well at lower temperatures can extend the life of the item of clothing. Fast fashion should be something we give thought to before we make that impulse purchase. Purchase fewer and more durable garments and recycle them in the used clothing market if you can.

I have taken a long hard look at that purple sweater in my closet and wondered if it was really a good buy. Knowing a little more about the impact my purchase makes on the environment makes me a little more aware of the impulse buy. I hope I didn’t just spoil your next shopping trip!


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