Target: People of America
Goal: Reduce the negative effects of manufacturing and disposing of new clothing by pledging not to buy new clothes for two months.
Fashion trends change every season, forcing those who follow them to toss out last season’s outdated clothing and make room for the new season’s styles. Trend followers have no idea how much damage they’re doing to the planet just so they can fit in. Not only do textiles take up an inordinate amount of space in landfills, but the production of new clothing requires the use of energy, toxic dyes and chemicals and the use of exploitative labor practices. We can show the fashion industry what we think of its harmful ways by not supporting it for two months.
The practice of cheaply manufacturing current and short-lived clothing trends has led textiles to be the fastest growing form of household waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans threw away 13.1 million tons of textiles in 2010. Only 15% of that was recycled so the rest ended up in landfills across the country. This means 126 million cubic yards of landfill space is being taken up by textiles every single year.
Not only do decomposing textiles release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, but the dyes and chemicals used in fabric and shoes leech into soil and groundwater supplies. Producing the new, soon-to-be-outdated clothing requires the use of pesticides to grow fabric materials like cotton, and many fabrics come from components extracted from petroleum. The manufacturing process also requires massive amounts of water. According to OnEarth.org, over 1,500 gallons of water are necessary to produce the cotton in one pair of jeans. This doesn’t take into account the water needed to dye them. Describing the myriad of other harmful practices committed by the fashion industry in a petition would be impossible. But in addition to using water, taking up landfill space and releasing chemicals into the environment, the production of new clothing often requires the use of exploitative sweatshop labor and chemicals that are harmful to our health.
The fashion industry could use reclaimed fabrics instead of continuously using the earth’s resources to sustain itself, but it doesn’t. So we can take a stand against the exploitative practices of the fashion industry by boycotting it for at least two months. Instead of following the latest trends and looking the same as everyone else, we can find our own style by using what we already have in our closets to create new looks. We can also shop in secondhand or vintage stores where we can find one-of-a-kind looks instead of mass-produced styles. Let’s stand together and tell the fashion industry that we demand more environmentally friendly practices by not buying any new clothing for two months.
Dear People of America,
Each year, millions of tons of textiles are thrown into landfills, taking up space and also releasing harmful gases and chemicals into the environment. Despite this fact, the fashion industry continues to promote new styles each season that force trend followers to throw out old clothes and buy new ones. Since the fashion industry is not going to stop its destructive practices on its own, it’s up to us to be more responsible shoppers.
By not buying any new clothes or only buying secondhand clothing for two months, we can tell the fashion industry that we demand environmentally conscious options for staying fashion forward. We also have the opportunity to create our own style with what we have in our closets or with one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing we find in secondhand stores. Let’s stand together and pledge to help the environment by not buying any new clothing for two months.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: zeldalily.com