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Online shopping, secondhand stores combat fashion waste

Speaking at the University of South Florida, as a part of a series of Fashion Revolution Week events in Tampa, Taryn Hipwell, Founder of the educational/advocacy group Beyond the Label and author of How to Shop for Shift noted that around 60 per cent of clothing made around the world ends up destroyed or in landfills within a year of production.

Hipwell discussed the importance of clothing labels being more transparent about their products and practices, including the large amount of waste created by the industry. She noted that the high-fashion landscape thrives on constant change with the internet is making runway cycles shorter than ever.

Brands such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton burn unsold merchandise worth billions of dollars. Labels often destroy products to avoid sales that devalue their brand. With new products constantly being released and consumer interest fading, there are few other options for companies. Fast fashion stores like Forever 21 also produce cheap clothing to match consumers’ obsession with staying on-trend.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, such habits contribute to the fashion industry being one of the biggest polluters in the world. The clothing production is responsible for 20 per cent of the globe’s industrial water pollution, as well as the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. To deal with these issues Hipwell advises consumers to opt for online shopping. She also thinks consumers should consider shopping secondhand at thrift and vintage stores.