It’s Saturday night, I’m sitting on my bed, towel tied around my body like a dress. I’m just out of the shower and deciding what to wear when my phone rings.
“I was going to wear that dress I wore to Lisa’s party but she just put the pictures on Facebook today so now I can’t! What are you wearing?”
My friend sounds distraught. I understand the conundrum, if the pictures have just gone up today and she wears that dress again tonight, what will people think?
Jesus, yer wan lives in that thing.
What was she wearing? That black dress again?
Does she own anything else?
I look at my own wardrobe and realise that I hate everything in it. I pull out dresses that cost a mere €10. I can’t wear that, it’s not my style. Why did I even buy it?
Sure it’s so cheap, its a bargain even if I never wear it.
It’s a worrying piece of advice that I actually used to live by.
If it’s in the sale, you’re actually saving money.
I take out a dress that might suit the occasion. I’ve worn it once and decide to inspect if it needs cleaning. I check the label to see if its the dreaded ‘Dry Clean Only’ symbol. ‘Made in Bangladesh’ stares back at me, prominent and loud.
There’s a flash in my mind and I see the Rana Plaza collapse. I hear the screams of the thousand people who became trapped in the garment factory and died in this disaster. It only lasts a second though and soon I’m back on the phone saying something like, “Wear that jumpsuit you got for your 21st but didn’t wear in the end.”
My friend sounds relieved and goes to find said jumpsuit, one of the many items bought and then out bought by another, shinier new item.
I’m familiar with fast fashion. I’ve bought clothes that I’ve never worn, decided not to re-wear something because I’d posted it on Instagram. I’ve bought tops for the sake of it, replaced items that didn’t need replacing. I’ve done it all but it wasn’t until I started blogging that I really started to notice just how much fashion has changed. With ‘hauls’ becoming one of the most popular videos to watch on YouTube to Instagram demanding new outfit posts daily, I had to stop, look at the environment and say “You okay hun?”
And guess what, she’s not!
If you haven’t already I urge you to watch ‘The True Cost’ an informative, eye- opening documentary on Netflix that shows the social and environmental damage of fast fashion. Some facts from the documentary really stood out for me. I’ve listed them here to give you an idea of just how detrimental fast fashion is .
The fashion industry is the world’s second largest polluter.
The average american throws away 82 pounds of textile waste a year.
Only 10% of clothes donated to charity get sold in charity shops. The rest are shipped to third world countries where they destroy the local clothing industry or fill up landfills.
The collapse of Ranu Plaza in 2013, a Bangladeshi garment factory, resulted in the death of over 1000 people.
One in six people worldwide work in the global fashion industry and most of these are women earning less than $3 dollars an hour.
250,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years as a result of going into debt.
The resounding message from the documentary is ‘It shouldn’t be like this’ and it really shouldn’t. So what can we do? With an industry fueled by greed and power, how can we make a change?
If you follow me on social media you will know that I am now a Brand Ambassador for the female led start up ‘ The Nu Wardrobe.’ This is an incredible initiative created by two Dublin ladies who want to to provide alternatives to fast-fashion that are affordable and accessible no matter what your budget. At Nu, the belief is that if you want to wear something different you shouldn’t have to go out and buy something brand new. The Nu Wardrobe was set up so that you can swap garments with other like minded, fashionable people, reducing waste and saving money.
How does it work?
Using the wardrobe is really easy, all you have to do is sign up HERE and create an account. You must be a student or recent graduate however as the wardrobe is still in its test phase. When you’re signed up the entire wardrobe is yours to browse. If you like a piece you simply check when it’s available for borrowing and request it. Borrowing costs just €5. You then receive a whatsapp and arrange collection. Once you’re finished wearing the piece you use whatspp again to arrange the return. It’s simple and effective and if like me, you feel slightly overwhelmed by all of the problems caused by the fashion industry, then is a great place to start!
Here are some of the beautiful garments you can borrow exclusively at Nu.