by Tara Hebbar

The latest trends, newest styles and the brands. Our world seems to want it all – all the time. There seems to be no end to people’s constant desire for what’s new and in style. Going to the store and sweeping the racks has become a pastime for so many. Those who don’t indulge in this, for whatever reason, are looked down upon, and considered not part of the “it” group that our society has crafted. For those who are unaware, the term fast fashion refers to, “cheaply produced and priced garments that copy the latest catwalk styles and get pumped quickly through stores in order to maximise on current trends.” There is never an end to a new dress or a suit that entices people across ages and continental barriers. The term need has been loosely replaced by want. Repeating clothes has become the 8th deadly sin. Clothes are irresponsibly bought and thrown away in the same fashion. Everyone wants more, throwing aside all ideals of logic, care and responsibility. No, I don’t expect the world to roam the streets like the king in ‘the emperor’s new clothes’ – stark naked, or wear clothes just at the chest and crotch like our neathertal friends, however, the current situation has gone way too far. Shopping is no longer an activity that is looked at like buying groceries, a matter of fulfilling one’s basic needs, however, now it is all about who has the most trendy and the most expensive clothes. The amount of money people spend on clothes is astonishing, with shopping now becoming a way to express one’s monetary status. 

This activity is not only making us more greedy and polluted people as a race, it’s detrimental effect on the environment is appalling. It is the second most polluting industry in the world, and is like a monster. Thriving on greed, it continues to grow larger and more scary each and every day that we continue to knowingly feed it to destroy what feeds us – talk about biting the hand that feeds you! The idea of minimalism is not acknowledged by any of us, forget the ability to demonstrate it. Fashion production is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, and is the source of all the dried up and polluted water bodies. It’s harmful and toxic reach extends beyond just the making of clothes. The washing of clothes itself leads to the release of 500,00 tons of micro fibres into the ocean annually, equivalent to 50 billions bottles made of plastic. Each and every step of article production taunts the environment in some way or the other. It affects each and other parts of our world. The wastage and immense usage of water and energy is a big part of this. One shirt requires 700 gallons of water to be manufactured. The next time you hear of a drought, know the new shirt you just bought could have saved so many thirsty animals and human beings. Jeans are even worse! Needing 2000 gallons of water each one. If this isn’t enough, here are some more terrifying facts about this industry. 85% of these holy grains of clothes and textiles go to waste each year. People have no connection or control, as one new piece of colorful comes in, another goes, irrespective of its condition. Clothing production has doubled approximately since 2010. In just 10 years, the population is increasing, but so are some people’s shopping habits. People also bought 60% more clothes in 2014 than 2000, while keeping them for only half as long. While this might seem foreign, most of us have contributed to it.

These are just some of the many negative effects of fast fashion. Spewing facts and statistics will only go so far, however, it’s in our hands to turn these facts around into a miracle that the future generations can marvel at. Let’s use and reuse clothes, lend them to our juniors and not feel the need to hit the shops as soon as the “trend” changes. Know that in the end, the trends lie in the hands of our fellow human beings, and each time, the environment bears the brunt. We don’t always need to buy new clothes all the time. The mantra you need to follow is “need not want.” Only buy clothes when you need it, you’ll realise the simple needs of your life. You don’t need the newest H&M release, you want it. And here’s the reality of life, “you don’t get everything you want” or rather, “don’t get everything you want.” Although our world considers being untrendy the 8th deadly sin, it’s truly fast fashion that occupies this villainous throne. 

Tara is an 10th grader who loves to sing, read, play and watch cricket, basketball and tennis, play the guitar, listen to music, meet new people, and always learn. She is very passionate about the things she writes about, and does and is always up for a debate or casual conversation. Her main goal as a journalist for the Ascent is to inform and inspire people to change their ways for the better of the world.