Sustainability Society

Tackling fast fashion and impulse buying

What is fast fashion?

Fast fashion is when inexpensive clothing is produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.

What is impulse buying?

Impulse buying is the buying of goods without planning to do so in advance, as a result of a sudden whim or impulse.

The problems with fast fashion

Fast fashion is one of the most overlooked carbon polluters, responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions and use of 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. Such pollution is dependent on all families buying new clothes and electronics without consideration of whether these purchases are truly necessary. Therefore, individual families can do a lot to combat the problem.

The problems with impulse buying 

Impulse buying is a very big part of fast fashion. This is because many impulse buyers will be buying popular clothing because of its appealing price and availability. This means that as fashion continues to rapidly change, more people will be impulse buying. 

Things your family can do to slow fast fashion:

  • Ask yourself before buying something new, why you want it and if you need it. 
  • Try to buy from second hand shops online or in person. For example the app ‘Depop’ (for clothes), charity or vintage shops. 
  • When buying new clothes ask yourself, who made my clothes and if the item is very cheap try to ask yourself why it is so cheap. Many cheap clothes will be made from unethical materials by underpaid workers in sweatshops.
  • When you are buying new clothes, buy them from confirmed ethical websites like John Lewis and Amberoot.
  • Conduct adequate research and try to avoid purchases on unethical websites who have been accused of exploiting workers or making their products from unethical materials.  
  • When getting rid of unwanted clothes, try to give them away to someone or a charity shop instead of throwing them away. You could sell them on ‘Depop’.
  • Try to wait a couple days to buy something small and a few weeks for big products to see if you really do want it or if you just want to buy something new.
Author: Ben Bown and Niklas van Mourik