How Many Times Do We Wear Fast Fashion Garments Before Throwing Them Out?

Fast fashion has an enormous effect on people and the planet – and fast fashion bears much responsibility in this. A multi-billion dollar industry that sells cheap yet trendy garments inspired by runway shows straight into high street stores every two weeks by paying influencers to promote them, speeding up production and distribution processes and constantly refreshing collections, all this comes at the cost of the environment and those making these clothes.

No secret exists of the fashion industry’s environmental footprint and pollution; from factories that make garments to how we treat our clothes. When purchasing something at an inexpensive price, we often wear it just once or twice before throwing it away, especially fast fashion garments which don’t last beyond one season.

Barnardo’s reports that on average we wear fast fashion clothing seven times before tossing it away, with younger generations typically using trendier and cheaper items even less frequently than adults. With new collections arriving every season at Zara (24 collections each year), H&M (16) and Primark (12), wardrobes can quickly become overstuffed with garments that sit idly in our closets.

The fashion industry generates an estimated annual output of 92 million tonnes of waste, mostly in the form of used garments and textiles that end up as garbage dumps. It is one of the main contributors to air and water pollution worldwide; many garments produced using synthetic fibres require energy resources such as oil for their creation; their production may contribute to deforestation while their dyeing/tanning can pollute nearby waterways.

These clothes are then dumped into landfills or shipped around the world to be sold at secondhand shops or recycled into fabric or insulation material for insulation, with estimates projecting that waste from this industry will double by 2025 without intervention.

At present, there are companies working hard to revolutionize the fashion industry for good, creating clothing with less environmental and animal impacts and greater durability. Consumers who care can make themselves heard by supporting ethical brands that treat their workers, the environment and animals with dignity. We can all do our part by purchasing only from ethical brands who treat all involved with respect – whether this involves workers, animals or both!