When you think about reducing your carbon, water, and waste footprint does fashion come to mind? For many, the answer is no. But fashion is becoming a significant source of pollution. Every time we buy a piece of clothing, footwear, or an accessory – no matter where it is produced – we increase our carbon footprint.  Some may say, “I declutter, I throw things out or give them away”. I say, “Do you really need to buy it in the first place?”

Fashion is a beautiful way of expressing ourselves. Cheap “fast fashion’’ has made it very easy for us to mindlessly buy stuff.  Some stores renew their stock not once per season but every two weeks…The pressure is very high on us to buy and to keep buying lest we miss out on something… I am reminded of an old documentary (Killing us softly) by Jane Kilbourne on the impact of marketing on women’s body-image, and tempted to say that things have not changed. But, marketing is what marketers do and GentleWays is not about blaming, naming and shaming anyone.

Our focus is on increasing our awareness, connecting with our freedom to choose and coming up with options. Have we moved into the “disposable’’ clothes era? I believe that if we don’t change our fashion buying habits, textile pollution will become the next plastic crisis.  According to some reports, a very small percentage of clothes is recycled through second hand markets; most of it, it seems, ends up in landfills; just like plastic, polluting our land, air and waterways.

Next time you see a marked-down T-shirt or any piece of clothing, if you feel tempted to buy it, take a deep breath and PAUSE. Then ask yourself:

  • Do I need it?
  • How long will I use it for?
  • What will I do with it when I stop using it?
  • How will it contribute to my carbon, water and air footprint?

Let us not let cheap fashion choke us “softly”.

Even if you pay taxes, even if you can afford it, think about the impact on your river, your lake, your air and your ocean.

Think about the many whales that died from ingesting our plastic. Think GentleWays for our Planet…

(Buyerarchy of needs: photo by Sarah Lazarovic)