“Buy less, choose well, make it last.” - Vivienne Westwood
Are you a fast or slow fashion kinda gal? No judgement either way. In the last few years we as consumers are beginning to awaken to the harsh realities of fast fashion and thankfully we seem to be making a shift away from toxic manufacturing and (un)ethical practices! What we are about to say to you about the fashion industry is NOT common knowledge but for most people, once you DO know, you can’t go back. Let’s dive in…
In a nutshell, Vivienne Westwood hit the nail on the head when she identified 3 key components to ‘slow’ fashion. That being:
- becoming more mindful about the garments we are buying,
- choosing quality over quantity, and;
- taking care of our wardrobe pieces so that they last longer or can be passed on to someone else to enjoy once we are finished with them!
WHAT’S THE DIFF?
Fast Fashion: is basically a means of securing catwalk designs at ultra-low prices to keep up with the latest international trends. Designs are quickly turned into cheap imitations which are mass produced and easily accessible via online sites.
This allows everyday consumers (us) to purchase ‘trendy’ clothing at an affordable price. The strategy encourages customers to shop regularly for new looks - which of course means that we buy more, throwing out once we have worn a few times. Don’t believe us? A recent YouGov survey found that almost a quarter of Australians have thrown away an item of clothing after wearing it just once, and four in 10 admitted they had binned unwanted garments, adding to landfill.
According to Clean Up Australia, in Australia alone, more than 500 million kilos of unwanted clothing ends up in landfill every year. Sadly, the demand for textiles here is one of the highest per capita in the world. The materials used are often synthetic and non-biodegradable, meaning even washing adds to pollution, with some materials shedding plastic micro-fibres that make their way to water catchments and oceans.
Some of the most well-known fast fashion chains include:
H&M, Kmart, Bonds, Myer & David Jones (many of the designs stocked in Myer & David Jones are sustainable - like Cue and Veronica Maine but their own brands (e.g. Miss Shop) are not.
The fashion industry is one of the highest polluting industries. It is responsible for an estimated 10% of global CO2 emissions. Australians are the world's second largest consumers of textiles BUT:
- The average person only wears 40% of their clothes
- Of the clothes that go to charity, it is estimated that only 15% are resold within Australia
- The rest are sent to landfill or overseas to developing nations
- In landfill, decomposing materials can take up to hundreds of years to break down whilst releasing the toxic greenhouse gas methane
In Australia, 6000 kilograms of textiles are dumped in landfill every 10 minutes. Yikes!
Those stats are quoted from CleanUp.org.au
Now, on the other hand; let’s consider brands and garments considered part of the growing movement ‘slow fashion’
Slow Fashion: Fashion that is made with longevity, quality and the environment in mind. Often made in small batch runs to reduce wastage, higher cost due to its thoughtful production methods, and often fair wage costs to garment makers (known as ethical manufacturing processes).
Some of our favourite slow fashion designers and stockists include: Newly launched Australian label; Boteh, Spell & The Gypsy Collective, Divine Tribe (handcrafted, sustainable handbags), House Of Skye and Little Miss Gypsy Label
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Alternatives to buying fast fashion:
- Rent an outfit for an event instead. Places like: volt.com.au or new and upcoming This WKND
- Organise a ‘clothes swap’ with your friends
- Don't be impulsive. One of the best tips I was ever given was to wait at least an hour before committing to a purchase. If I’m still thinking about it after an hour then I would go back and buy it.
- Buy vintage from your local op shop (*keeping in mind that places like Vinnies and The Red Cross are primarily for people who have no other option for their clothing needs*
- Shop secondhand on eBay or Facebook Marketplace (especially if you can afford to, and leave your local op shops for people who actually need to shop there)
- When you do buy something brand new, choose something that is high quality, Australian made, timeless and/or from a designer/online store that implements ethical and sustainable manufacturing processes. There’s an app that actually rates the ethical processes of some of our favourite brands and gives sustainable fashion tips. It’s called: “Goodonyou.eco” if you’d like to check it out.
WHERE BONITAZ FITS IN:
While it can’t be said that Bonitaz is a slow fashion shopping destination, we are working hard behind the scenes to be more responsible and support sustainable designers. Here’s what we currently do and what we are working towards in 2021 and beyond:
- Bonitaz has partnered with One Tree Planted, who are a nonprofit organisation focused on global reforestation. Each purchase made at Bonitaz = 1 tree planted. If you would like to learn more One Tree Planted and their impact on the world here.
- Bonitaz sends your orders in wrapped in paper and then into eco friendly re-usable tote bags.
- We work with local earth caring designers who create eco-friendly garments such as Tanah Folk, Little Miss Gypsy and House of Skye to name a few.
- Tanah Folk Nomad skirts are made in one size which includes sizes 6-18. In comparison, fast fashion brands create 7 alternate options for exactly the same item and produce in bulk production. Unfortunately due to the fast changes in fashion many of the garments created in the process are not sold and are then disregarded as toxic landfill.
- Little Miss Gypsy have a “no plastic” policy and send their pieces wrapped in cloth bags or paper. Fast fashion houses on the other hand have all of their items in plastic. Which means every item you see in every fast fashion store has been literally wrapped in individual pieces of plastic wrapping. The wrapping alone has a toxic effect on our planet.
- Here at Bonitaz we are always on the lookout for more brands who align with similar values and are looking out for our beautiful planet.
We hope you found this article informative, wherever you may be on your sustainable fashion journey!
Lots of love aways,
Rebecca Achelles for Bonitaz Boho Store