Fast Fashion Facts and Shopping Secondhand

A message from the KDL Green Team:

Fast fashion is “an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.” While this sounds great for consumers, it wreaks havoc on our planet.

Fast Facts About Fast Fashion

  • Fast fashion is second only to oil as the world’s largest polluter due to the industry’s high carbon emissions, wastewater production, and large amounts of landfill waste.
  • Annually, 1 billion garments are produced by the fast fashion industry.
  • The industry emits 1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year (10% of global emissions, more than those created by air travel and international shipping).
  • It is responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater.
  • In 2015, it used 80 billion cubic metres of freshwater (or 32,000 Olympic size swimming pools).
  • 85% of our old clothes end up in a landfill (in North America alone produces 25 billion tons per year).
  • Only about 1% of textile waste is truly recycled. With current technology, it would take 12 years to recycle what the fast fashion industry creates in 48 hours.
  • Fast fashion production is predicted to increase 60% by the year 2030.

What Can We Do to Help Reduce This Increase?

  • Buy less.
  • If buying new from a “sustainable” company, do some research and ask lots of questions to ensure they are not practicing “greenwashing.”
  • Buy clothes for quality, function, versatility, and personal style—not just because you saw an ad.
  • Care for your clothes, mend them if they tear, and keep them longer.
  • Participate in clothing swaps with friends and family.
  • Shop secondhand.

Ways to Shop Secondhand

Online options: ThredUp, Poshmark, Ebay, Etsy

Brick and mortar: WearForward (a brand new! Consignment shop in Lowell), Goodwill stores,   Plato’s Closet, Uptown Cheapskate (in Grandville), and many more!

What’s your favorite secondhand shop? What fun, unique items of clothing have you found secondhand?


By Jessica McLeod