The Effects of Fast Fashion and Better Alternatives

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The Effects of Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is destroying our planet. It is defined as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” The UN Environment Program states that this industry produces more CO2 emissions than all international flights and shipping combined. In addition, it is the second-biggest consumer of water. 

At LIM Living, we encourage Less-is-More. This lifestyle shifts away from consumerism into focusing more on what you genuinely care for.

Fast fashion supports excessive consumerism behaviors. Though items prices may be low, the true cost is a lot more. Here, we will go through the dangers of this industry and the quality alternatives you can implement today. 

Why is fast fashion bad? 

Too Many Clothes

For many, quitting fast fashion can be challenging because you can stay on top of the fashion trends for a low price. However, not only do the manufacturing and shipping processes cause significant harm to the environment, but it also abuses the well-being of garment factory workers. 

Fast Fashion Environmental Impact 

Effects of Polyester 

Polyester is utilized in the manufacturing process to keep clothing prices cheaper than alternatives such as cotton and silk. The synthetic fiber used contains numerous amounts of microplastics in its stitching. A 2016 study conducted by the University of Plymouth states that whenever we wash clothes made out of this fiber, we release upwards of 700,000 microplastic particles into the environment! 35% of microplastics found in the ocean come from these synthetic materials. 

Water Impact 

Not only does fast fashion damage the ocean with microplastics, but it is also the world’s second-largest polluter of water sources such as streams and rivers. The dyes used in textiles are released into these water sources, polluting the freshwater. 

Landfill Issues 

The in-season pieces that individuals buy don’t stay in closets for long. These overly trendy items are out of fashion within months. Since these garments are made of plastic and synthetic materials, they can take up to 200+ years to decompose! 

Slow Fashion 

The amount of clothing thrown away in the US alone has doubled in the past year to 14 million tons! We need to slow down. Sooner rather than later, these materials will end up in the landfill. Fortunately, the “slow fashion” movement has swept the globe to combat its fast fashion counterpart.

Slow fashion brings awareness and intention to our purchasing decisions. Was your garment ethically and sustainably sourced? Is this a piece that you plan on keeping long-term? Here are some ways to incorporate slow fashion into your lifestyle. 

Impulse Buying 

When the whole world is at our fingertips courteous to online shopping websites such as Amazon, it can be difficult NOT to make impulsive purchases. Try out these tips before swiping your card on a whim. 

  1. Create a budget and stick to it! Use apps like EveryDollar, Mint, or just plain old pen and paper to help organize your expenses.
  2. When you see something you like but don’t NEED to live, keep a note of it on your phone. If you still feel like that product will bring joy into your life after a month, go ahead and purchase it. 
  3. Try to avoid clothing brands on social media and email lists. Out of sight, out of mind! 

Invest in Timeless Pieces 

It’s better to spend more and invest in timeless pieces that will stay in your closet for years rather than purchase cheap items that will go out of style by next season, if not fall apart by then! Get a good understanding of your style, and research high quality and ethical brands that support that fashion. Consider creating a capsule wardrobe to mix and match a limited amount of pieces to generate numerous outfits. 

Sustainable and Ethical Brands 

Here are some of our favorite slow-fashion brands, but remember, it is worth examining your individual style to find outfits that you will love long-term! Be sure to do in-depth research on the company’s values and logistics! 


Shopping second-hand and donating your pre-loved clothes is another way to combat the fast fashion industry. Here, you extend the lifespan of the garment. When you increase the longevity of a piece of clothing by just three months per item, you can save 5-10% of that garment’s carbon footprint

This quarter, our LIM Living office is hosting a clothing drive challenge for our employees to bring in their used apparel. We will bring these items to a donation center. Host a drive for your colleagues, friends, or family and help educate them on the importance of slow fashion! Clothing drives are a great way to get the community together while assisting others sustainably. 

Will you think twice next time before buying that t-shirt because it’s in-season and inexpensive? Each day, more and more individuals are understanding the harm that comes along with the fashion industry. When we make intentional and ethical choices, we create a better world for ourselves and others.

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