Green December Day 28 - Fast Fashion

I’ve stopped… Shopping as often at fast fashion stores.

Fast fashion is considered clothing items that are cheap, trendy, and doesn’t have a long shelf life in the store. Some brands that are known to be high producers of fast fashion is H&M, Zara and Forever 21 - all of which I own many items from. I’m slowly working towards building a wardrobe made with natural fabrics - an expensive and slow process but worth it!

Like everybody else, I like what comes out of those stores every once in a while so when I am shopping, I go through a process:

  1. I assess whether or not I have anything similar already

  2. I asses the quality of the item to see whether it would last at least a year’s worth of wash and wear and look at what it is made of (specifically looking for natural fabrics such as cotton, wool or silk and shying away from plastic materials such as polyester, spandex, rayon)

  3. I assess the style of the item to see whether or not it would still be considered ‘in style’ a year or two later

  4. I assess the price to make sure it’s not astronomically expensive for all of the above

By the end of this process, I’ve turned away lots of items that would have otherwise been purchased, worn and thrown away within a year. I try to imagine at least 3 other clothing items that I can wear with the item to ensure that they’re versatile. Here’s an example of four outfits you can make with versatile pieces that can be interchanged with each other:

IMG_1881 2.jpg

One of these days, I hope to make enough money to afford the finest, most eco-friendly clothing but in reality, everyone is living by their means and sometimes you have to do your best with what you have. I am very conscious that when I am buying synthetic materials that I will squeeze the longest life out of them and reducing the amount of times I have to wash it as much as hygienically possible.

This wardrobe progress has so far taken me at least two years to continuously purge, donate, and repurchase but with every better purchase I make, I become in love with every item and it makes it harder to part with (not only for the style but usually for the price), which means I will get the most wear out of it. I even have some items that are 3-4 years old! Also, if you’ve followed the steps above, yet it happens that you must part with some older items, it will have higher resell value and more likely that someone will actually buy it.



Although there is ethical controversy among many common fashion brands, there are also environmental concerns that come with it. Clothing is one of the worst contributors to the environmental burden. Not only is fashion constantly changing, making people feel like that need to buy new items, but the process in making clothing is certainly not sustainable.

The apparel industry accounts for 10% of the global carbon emissions and comes second behind oil as the largest industrial polluter. Fast fashion items are typically worn less than 5 times, kept for roughly 35 days and produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year. -

Polyester is a very common, synthetic material that not only creates a lot of pollution to make, but also is polluting the environment every time you wash it by releasing small non-degradable fibres into the lakes and rivers.

Luckily, we are seeing more fashion brands making changes to benefit the environmental footprint they are leaving but we definitely have a long way to go, but the best way to start is to make sustainable choices!

Carmen Szeto