Fast Fashion – the slow decay

The suit is the modern man’s armour

(Kingsman 2014)

I have found this statement to be nothing but the truth since working on one of London’s most prestigious streets for men’s fashion. Working in suiting for the last four years, with a course in ‘bespoke tailoring and men’s personal styling’, has shown me that buying a suit or buying casual wear can boost our confidence. 

It gives us a way to express ourselves and our taste in fashion. Yet within this beautiful – confidence-growing – fashion industry, I have found that although fashion can do a lot for a person, what effect does it have on our world

Fast fashion is an ideology that promotes having the latest fashion craze in the wardrobe. High-street brands are classic examples of companies that can manufacture the latest trend and have it on the shop floor in just two weeks. These garments that will soon be ‘out of fashion’ are made to last that time frame. Months, even weeks, until the newest trend hits the stores. 

So what’s the issue?

The fabric. Polyester is the most used fibre in the fashion world as it’s cheap to produce and versatile in use. Polyester is made from crude oil and can be manufactured into t-shirts, hoodies, sportswear, dresses and suits. I wonder if we went through our wardrobe, how many polymer-based garments we’d find? 

Not only does it take 70 billion barrels of crude oil per annum to produce the polyester needed, but when washing our polymer-based clothes, up to 1,900 oil-based fibres are washed into our oceans. When these garments are thrown away, evidence shows 150 million tons ends up in our main ecosystems and another 26 million tons in our landfills. As the fashion industry makes up for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, this industry is clearly playing a part in the destruction of this planet.

Are Christians responsible for caring for the world? 

Yes. When God created man in Eden, his job from the Lord was to tend the land (seen in Gen. 1:28). I do not see that charge being lifted from humankind in scripture. As Christians we have two callings: 

  1. To this glorious hope that we have through Christ (Eph. 2 & 1 Pet. 1:3-5)
  2. Our personal callings to ministry (1 Cor. 12) 

Tending the land and caring for our planet is a call to action we all share. This calling is for now until eternity and it’s our responsibility to lead by example in how we do it. Creation was made for Christ and His own pleasure (Col. 1:16 & Rev. 4:11), should we not be good and faithful stewards?

You can do something

It’s simple: buy clothing made from natural fibres like wool, cotton and silk and when it comes to the end of its use in your wardrobe, donate your clothes to charity and give it another lease of life. Taking these first and easy steps is a great way to take care of our amazing planet whilst also looking fantastic! 

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