Leather and sustainability in the age of fast fashion – Annenberg Media | Fashion

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Earth day has just been celebrated around the world and sustainability remains a key practice to limit climate change, especially when it comes to what we keep in our closets.

According to the 2022 Global Fast Fashion Market Report According to Research and Markets, the fast fashion market is projected to grow from $91.23 billion in 2021 to $99.23 billion over the course of 2022. Fast fashion is a phrase that refers to a brand strategy that focuses on the rapid production and marketing of clothing. Clothing is usually made with inexpensive human labor and processed with cheap and harmful synthetic materials derivatives of coal and oil.

Fast fashion companies such as online beauty and style retailer Shein have teamed up with festival giant Coachella, despite controversy over the brand due to its accusations human rights violations and environmental damage. According investigate of Business of Fashion, Shein adds an average of 314,877 new items to its website daily.

One of the biggest contributors to faux fur’s negative impact on the environment is the fast fashion industry, according to USC Dornsife associate professor of environmental studies Victoria Petryshyn.

“It goes out of style so quickly that it gets thrown away,” Petryshyn said. “Not many people save it, especially in today’s culture because things go out of style so quickly; even if you give it to a thrift store, no one is going to take it.”

Although the fast fashion strategy has begun to receive criticism on ethical grounds, one of the new aspects of global fashion has not: the booming synthetic fur industry. Faux fur has been celebrated due to its affordability and the ethical concerns about animal cruelty that come with real fur. Animal rights groups like PETA used strategies like the star-studded line “I’d rather go naked than wear fur.” campaign to push society to use and buy real animal skin products.

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The rejection of real fur caused many companies, including luxury brands such as prada, gucciDolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney and Hermes, giving up fur and looking for alternative uses for their products.

However, as the ethical problem was resolved, the sustainability problem continued to grow.

The faux fur found in affordable clothing stores like Shein, H&M, and Forever 21 is usually produced using polymers derived from coal, water and oil, all of which are considered fossil fuels.

According to the Environmental protection agencyAmericans dumped 11.3 million tons of textile waste into landfills in 2018.

“In terms of microfiber plastics, many of the acrylic plastics that are used are not easily recyclable,” Petryshyn said. “They can be recycled, but your average recycling place won’t be able to handle them.”

Despite the environmental damage and labor issues that have resulted from the growth of the fast fashion and faux fur industries, there are many ways consumers can reduce their impact.

Here’s how you can do your part:

  • Reduce clothing waste to refrain from buying microtrends. By shopping according to the seasons instead of following the small trends of a month, the amount of cheap clothing that is thrown away will decrease.
  • Reuse old clothes; turning a torn shirt into one Pinterest DIY or rag to cleanan item can have a second life.
  • Shop at thrift stores to help keep clothes out of landfills. Donating clothing or shoes that are still in good condition can help others find quality items at an affordable price. However, it is also imperative to keep thrift stores accessible to low-income communities for which they were made instead of buying in bulk at thrift stores to resell; allows everyone the opportunity to find recycled clothing and contribute to the sustainability effort to reduce waste.
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To learn more about fighting clothing waste and advocating for sustainable production practices, visit the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion. website.