Why is fashion a BIG problem for the environment?

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What is repeat dressing?

When it comes to fashion we all like to express ourselves in different ways.

Whether it’s hats, shoes, dresses, accessories or even just a bit of glitter, how we dress in public and how we look in public is important to lots of people.

Lots of people who use social media feel pressured to keep up the latest fashion trends to gain more followers.

Some people believe that, if they’re seen to be wearing the same clothes more than once in a different picture or post, they might not be as popular and may even get some nasty comments online.

A recent study by environmental charity Hubbub revealed that one in six young people wouldn’t wear the same outfit, once it’s been seen on social media.

But the fashion industry has a huge impact on the environment – it’s the second biggest polluter behind the oil industry.

So there are calls for people to make more sustainable choices when it comes to their clothes.

Participants of a fashion show wear outfits made out of garbage for World Cleanup Day in Chernihiv, northern UkraineBarcroft Media

These models are wearing clothes made out of rubbish to highlight sustainability

How can the fashion industry change?

A new report is asking politicians to make changes that can help lessen fashion’s impact.

The charity Hubbub put together the report, called ‘Making the UK a global leader in sustainable fashion’.

It was given to MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, which was set up to look at how the government can help the fashion industry to make changes.

The report calls for the government to:

  • Allow money for more research into sustainable fabrics that have less impact on the environment
  • Boost the amount of recycling facilities in the UK
  • Support green businesses
  • Bring more clothing and manufacturing jobs to the UK
  • Educate customers about their choices when it comes to the clothes they buy.

The head of Hubbub, Trewin Restorick, said it was important for the government to help the fashion industry to change and added: “It’s important for all of us to play our part by making individual small changes.”

A movement has started which calls for people to play their part by practising ‘repeat dressing’.

Youtube fashion vlogger Reuben de MaidPresley Ann

Youtube fashion vlogger Reuben de Maid is backing repeat dressing

What is repeat dressing?

Repeat dressing is a term used when someone purposely wears the same clothes several times.

It’s all about encouraging others to wear their outfits multiple times and to change the way we treat the materials we wear.

It’s seen as a way to combat what is called ‘fast fashion’.

“Fast fashion refers to a model that a lot of high street shops follow,” explains Katie Williams from the UK Youth Climate Coalition.

“It’s basically that clothes should be available really quickly and really cheaply so you can get the latest trends as soon as possible and as cheaply as possible.”

The problem is, this way of working by the fashion industry has a bad impact on the environment.

What impact does the fashion industry have?

Watch this short film to see how the fashion industry impacts on the environment.

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What impact does fashion have on the planet?

What can we do to help?

“The three words you need to remember are reduce, reuse, recycle,” says Katie Williams from the UK Youth Climate Coalition.

She says buying clothes from second-hand shops means there’s no extra carbon footprint and helps charities, while making changes to clothes you already own can breathe new life into them.

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What can we do to reduce our carbon footprint when it comes to fashion?

“And recycling clothes is easier than it’s ever been before,” she adds. “But look after the clothes you do have so you don’t have to throw them away.”

One of those calling for more repeat dressing is Youtuber and fashion vlogger Reuben de Maid.

“What’s happening is so damaging right now,” he said.

“If we all create social change then a big change will happen. We all need to be aware of what we are buying and who we buy from.”

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What does the fashion industry say?

The retailers admit more needs to be done, but say they are already working to reduce the impact of their products.

Many fashion companies have said they are committed to only using sustainable materials – H&M, for example, says it will only use recycled and sustainably sourced materials by 2030.

Just this week, the boss of fashion brand Superdry said they wanted to make the company the world’s “number one listed sustainable brand”.

The British Retail Consortium, which represents small shops, big retail chains and department stores, says clothing manufacturers are now designing products that are made to last, and that they are encouraging customers to return unwanted clothes for reuse.

“We know more needs to be done, but the best answers will be achieved with collaborative global actions,” a spokesperson said.

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