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Why we must cut our new clothing purchases by 75%

If you favour human and environmental wellbeing over the ever-growing consumption of throwaway fast fashion, switching to a smaller wardrobe may be your only option.

Regardless of how tempting it is to buy into the flurry of new aesthetics, cores, and microtrends that flood our feeds, there’s no ignoring the catastrophic impact it’s having on our already suffering Earth.

While dressing up is a sure-fire way to boost our moods and a form of self-expression that more and more of us are enjoying post-lockdown, it’s becoming difficult to do so without feeling guilty.

This is because, as is common knowledge in the age of eco-anxiety and damning IPCC reports, the ever-growing consumption of throwaway fast fashion is wreaking havoc on our environment.

It certainly doesn’t help that we’re exposed to its affordability, convenience, and accessibility whenever we open social media and are bombarded with targeted ads. With the right amount of willpower, however, we can find a way out of this mess.

It might just involve getting better at working with what we have to hand.

If you favour the wellbeing of both people and planet over following whatever #ootd you’ve been pining over, switching to a smaller wardrobe may be your only option.

Of course, this is not to disregard the plethora of small lifestyle changes we can adopt on a daily basis that’ll – hopefully – make a lot of difference in the long run, but for now our style-focused sustainability efforts simply aren’t cutting it.

Need I remind you that if we don’t act soon the industry could use a quarter of the world’s remaining global carbon budget to keep warming under 2°C by 2050?

Or that over the past 15 years garment production has doubled as the length of time we actually wear these items has fallen by nearly 40%?

To put this into perspective, mere months into 2022, H&M and Zara have already launched around 11,000 new designs (paling in comparison to SHEIN and the staggering 314,877 it’s released during the same period), all to meet the insatiable demand of consumers purchasing more clothes than ever before, yet spending less.

Shocking report reveals cheap clothes often can't be resold - and end up rotting in Africa | Daily Mail Online

For this reason, a recent report from researchers Samantha Sharpe, Monique Retamal, and Taylor Brydges for The Conversation is suggesting we must each cut our shopping habits by at least 75%.

And if we are inclined to jump on the latest ‘what’s hot’ bandwagon, we can always thrift, opt for clothing that’s made to last, or head to a local swishing event.

‘The fashion industry has devised a raft of plans to tackle the issue but the problem is many sustainability initiatives still place economic opportunity before environmental concerns and do very little to actually confront the sector’s rapidly increasing consumption of resources and waste generation,’ it reads.

‘Moving to a post-growth fashion industry would require policymakers and the industry to bring in a wide range of reforms, and re-imagine roles and responsibilities in society.’

‘It’s better we act to shape the future of fashion rather than let a tidal wave of wasted clothing soak up resources, energy and our very limited carbon budget.’