How micro trends and fast fashion contribute to climate change

By: Mila Hart

I know we all love shopping and keeping up with the latest trends, but did you know that the fashion industry is one of the most harmful contributors to climate change? Here’s why.

A micro-trend is one that quickly rises in popularity and falls even faster. Fast fashion is trendy clothing that is mass produced as quickly and cheaply as possible.

In the past 100 years trends have gone from lasting a decade, to lasting three to five years, to now only lasting a few weeks before everyone moves onto something else. A large contributor to the increase in micro trends is social media.

Because the micro trends cycle has rapidly increased, more and more clothing items are being mass produced through fast fashion. Clothing production almost doubled in the last 20 years and people are only keeping those items for half as long.

According to the World Resources Institute, “[T]he fast fashion industry is responsible for nearly 10 percent of annual global gas emissions and is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply”. 85 percent of textiles go to the dump each year. Experts say the “equivalent of one garbage truck of clothing is burned or dumped in a landfill every second”.

Here are some ways you can make a difference and reduce the carbon footprint of your clothing.

First off, thrift! Thrift! Thrift! Thrifting is an amazing way to be a sustainable shopper. And while you’re thrifting you may as well also donate your old clothes that you don’t want anymore instead of throwing them away.

But if you want to buy new clothes, select clothing items that are sustainably made and avoid synthetic materials like polyester. Studies show that polyester releases nearly three times more carbon emissions than cotton.

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