Who doesn’t love buying new clothes? Especially nowadays with the fashion industry entering more and more our personal lives through advertisements on social media and influencers.
The only fear most people have is to fall behind the trend. But many forget about the impact the fashion industry has on our environment. It might even be the second largest polluter after the oil industry, however, due to a lack of data, it is difficult to prove it. Now, please check the clothes you are wearing. Are they made of polyester or cotton?
Let’s start with cotton. Approximately 20.000 liters of water will produce outfit (t-shirt and jeans). The extreme water usage for production may dry out local seas close to production facilities in Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, or China, water locals depend on. Furthermore, the contamination through fertilizers and pesticides pollute the water which is going back into our ecosystem. Today, organic cotton is becoming more popular because it uses less water. However, it only makes up a small percentage of cotton grown worldwide.
Polyester is a plastic which is used in the production of various products, such as plastic bottles and even clothing! It is so inexpensive that it allows the fashion industry to produce affordable fashion for everyone at high margins. But as soon as we, the consumers, have enough of it, our comfortable jeans become plastic pollution in the environment. This may seem like the big companies are the bad guys. But in the end, it is us who demands and buys a high variety of cheap fashion.
So what can we, the people of Antwerp, do about it? Throughout the past weeks we have seen many initiatives related to second-hand clothing. Last week for example, a fellow SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) group at our university ran a closet sale. Second-hand clothes for less than 5€ — and there was a lot!
Talking about second-hand clothes, there are a lot of such stores in Antwerp. Just walk through the streets and you will find them.
Melting Pot Kilo (Nationalstraat 14) is a store where you can buy vintage clothes for 15€ per kilo, doesn’t this sound fun? Right next to it is a huge second-hand store with cool clothes and hundreds of Converse Chucks.
So, what can be your next steps towards a more sustainable life? We don’t want to take away the joy of shopping from you, but is it necessary to buy new clothes every time?
- Go to your wardrobe and look for the things you haven’t worn in the past year. Bring it to a second-hand shop and make other people happy with it.
- The next time you are in a store, take one minute and ask yourself “do I really need this?”
- Buy second-hand!
What about making a challenge out of this?
- Is your wardrobe full of clothes? Then take the challenge and do not buy anything for one year! You will see you have more than enough to survive this year and your bank account will thank you!
- Ever heard of Project 333? Dress with less – you are allowed to wear only 30 items from your wardrobe for three months. It might even reduce your level of stress by having to make fewer decisions. Read more on: https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/
By Anabel Herzsprung & Antonia Brinker (firstname.lastname@example.org)