More Anti-Fast Fashion. This time from Canada.

It used to be that Europe was at least a year ahead of us in terms of fashion. Thankfully that is no longer the case, especially when it comes to how we view fast fashion.

It takes 2,650 litres of water to produce one cotton T-shirt.

It takes 2,650 litres of water to produce one cotton T-shirt.

While Canada has not yet considered taking the UK’s lead in implementing a fast fashion tax, Metro Vancouver has launched the Think Thrice About Your Clothes campaign to minimize textile waste as well as encourage us to reduce, repair, and reduce our clothing.

We’re just as bad as anybody else when it comes to fast fashion. Vancouverites discarded an astonishing 17 pounds of clothing per person last year alone. For the visual, that amounts to the weight of 44 T-shirts per person going into the landfill. Crazy!

Thanks to fast fashion (read: cheaply produced clothing that lasts a season or two) we’re buying three times the amount of clothing than we did during the 1980s. It is estimated that one garbage truck full of clothing is dumped in the landfill globally every second.

The Think Thrice About Your Clothes educates people on ways to make smart choices – no matter the budget. On the topic of new clothes: buy well-made and classic pieces. Not only do they save you money in the long run, but quality clothing tends to both sit better on your frame and lasts longer.

I think we’ve all succumbed to buying fast fashion at some point in our lives. But then came the discoveries of the cool-looking blouse that looks like crap after one wash! The T-shirt that morphs into a weird shape after wearing it three times! The fabric that always has a chemical smell (that sits on our skin) – hurray!

Buying second-hand is a huge trend in the UK right now. I won’t go into too much detail here but you can read more about it in a previous SeaLuxe post. The campaign also suggests renting clothing if you’re looking for a suit or a dress to wear to that special occasion. There are traditional rental companies as well as really cool clothing libraries and online rental places.

The online rental idea is especially fantastic. All you do is sign up and set up a style preference. Based on what kind of membership plan you have, a new pack of clothes will be sent to you periodically. Wear them as long as you like, keep and buy what you want, and send back the rest. Brilliant! Check out these popular options: The Clothes Library and Lena.

The Metro Vancouver campaign also suggests caring for your clothing properly as well as repair and alteration suggestions, complete with videos that show you how to sew a button on a shirt or repair a torn seam. We’re much more inclined to take care of our clothing when we’ve invested in it. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have these skills!

Finally, when you have unwanted clothing, the campaign suggests what to do with them.

A landfill in Nigeria. The tropical setting makes it that much more awful to stomach.

A landfill in Nigeria. The tropical setting makes it that much more awful to stomach.

Increasing the lifespan of our clothing means we can reduce horrible environmental impacts. Let’s think about this for a second. It takes 2,650 litres of water to produce one cotton T-shirt. Relying on synthetics and man-made materials such as polyester is terrible as these plastic-based materials do not decompose. When they’re incinerated, as some cities do to handle their waste, that creates pollution in the form of chemicals and greenhouse gasses.

When fabrics such as microfibre and polyester are washed, those microplastics eventually make their way into our rivers and seas which then, as we’ve written about, ends up in our food chain.

Let’s all do our part. Bravo to Metro Vancouver for doing theirs!




Rebecca Dixon