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How a programme about Minimalism highlighted the "Fast Fashion" industry

Last night my husband and I watched a programme on minimalism, centring around two men who took all the 'stuff' they owned and dramatically reduced their belongings. Living a very minimalist lifestyle, while there were certain aspects of this lifestyle I'd embrace, with three small children, it would be a struggle in some areas.

One of aspects of the programme I found extremely interesting was the emphasis placed on marketing companies who have successfully sold us 'stuff'.

How a programme about Minimalism highlights the "Fast Fashion" industry, Claire M Roper

Marketing have done their job, we see it, we want it, we buy it.

Being a marketing professional myself, I was curious about this phenomenon, especially what they referred to as fast fashion. In the 1950's and 1960's at most there was four seasons, now the fashion industry has produced the "micro-season" and are producing garments at an extraordinary rate.

"More styles mean more purchases — and that leads to more waste created" - Journalist Elizabeth Cline, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion

This makes me consider the industry these fashion labels have created in a modern world and how through effective and aggressive advertising, the fashion industry has created a juggernaut of surplus clothing.

Four shocking Statistics of modern day fashion industry:

  • 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded, Environmental Protection Agency - CLICK TO TWEET

  • Britons are expected to send 235m items of clothing to landfill in spring 2017, Guardian - CLICK TO TWEET

  • Men are more likely to send clothes to landfill, with 82% saying they would bin items this spring (2017) compared with 69% of women, Sainsbury's Study - CLICK TO TWEET

  • 49% of people did not think they could donate to charity because the clothes were worn out or dirty, The Guardian - CLICK TO TWEET

The fashion industry employees around 555,000 people in the UK, it's a profitable industry, but it's also a self generating wasteful industry.

There are a selection of big name brands who are working with charities to cut down on waste, Marks & Spencer and Sainsburys are working together with Oxfam. TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK are campaigning together. And retail chain H&M offer a recycling programme.

Wrap, a government body have created a website, Love Your Clothes, offering advice on choosing good quality items, how to buy second hand garments, being smart with energy-efficient laundry methods and how to donate your unwanted garments.

But in reality, it is down to us as consumers to take more responsibility for what we are purchasing, fast fashion is a byproduct of customers demands for cheaper and a wider variety of goods.

Perhaps it's time we looked through our wardrobes and select something you haven't worn for ages...

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