sustainability is hot
A note from our Head of Sustainability
Fashion is no longer about utility. Rather, it’s an embodiment of self expression. Now more than ever, we have the power to communicate our self-confidence and beliefs through the endless ways we style our clothing and where we get it from.
However, the downside to this concept is that large corporations have capitalized on the consumers desire for trendy and unique clothing by ironically manufacturing masses of the same garments at an extremely low cost. In turn, these fast fashion giants have consequently substituted ethical principles for affordability. And before we get technical, it’s important to note that we, along with other sustainability advocates, are guilty for purchasing from fast fashion companies without considering the impacts. It is not our intent to tell you to stop shopping at these companies. Our purpose is to shed light on the issues at hand in the fast fashion industry so that you as a consumer are aware of the significance that your purchasing habits have on the environment and society.
*back to regularly scheduled business*
Fast fashion is one of the top contributors to the world’s overall carbon emissions, with big name brands responsible for over 10% of emissions. Yep, this might hurt for some of you, but we are talking Zara, Pretty Little Thing, and Forever 21. Per year, 1.2 billion tons of C02 are released into the atmosphere from the fashion industry. Fast fashion also has a lot of societal impacts: it adversely affects younger women especially in third world countries. On top of low wages and poor working conditions, forced and child labor in the fashion industry is common in many countries throughout the world due to pressing demands to meet short fashion cycles.
Ladies, gentlemen, fellow feminists/entrepreneurs/female CEOs/environment enthusiasts, we know that this should be enough to get your attention, but let’s take a look at some numbers:
Discarded clothing can sit in landfills for up to 2,000 years
It takes 2,700 liters of water to produce one new cotton shirt
80% of apparel is made by young women ages 18 through 24
Garment workers make less than $100 a month; less than 3.5 times the amount needed to live a decent life with basic necessities
3.5 billion pounds of solid waste are produced annually as a byproduct of fast fashion
With so many clothes already out in the world, why encourage such harmful production of new items?
While it seems like the fast fashion industry is centuries away from sustainability, The Backroom is taking steps - no matter how small - to mesh fashion with sustainability. We use thrift shops, second hand clothing stores, and donations as a basis for inventory in order to help mitigate fashion waste and demand for fast fashion. Recycling clothing is a more sustainable approach to fashion that emulates The Backroom’s mission to help break any negative connotations surrounding thrifting. It not only makes clothing more affordable, but it also allows us to provide you with unique, custom, and repurposed pieces!
Although The Backroom is not a foolproof solution to conquering the waste and humanitarian issues surrounding fast fashion, we believe that our small sustainable steps can have a large collective impact in the long-run. It is with your support that we can all continue to demonstrate how to be change-makers for sustainability in a world that needs present-day action.