Remember back in the day, when clothes were made to last? They were made from natural fibres, beautifully and carefully stitched, then washed and stored with care. Not only that, but we (and our mothers and grandmothers) had far less clothes in our wardrobes than we do today…and we wore them all!
These days, things are much different. Some clothing is so cheap it’s almost disposable and it’s made with that in mind. Cheaper, thinner fabrics that lose their shape or colour after a few washes. Fashion trends that move so quickly, making items seem old-fashioned by the time the next season rolls around.
In response we buy more, consume more, wear more and dispose of more.
In fact, according to ‘Clean Up’, and organisation dedicated to cleaning up our waste and helping us make less of it, Australians on average buy 56 new items per year (putting us second on the list in terms of textile consumption after the US). Not only that, but we then dispose of an average of 23kg of clothing, to landfill, each year. That’s per person!! Textiles can take hundreds of years to break down once in landfill, leaving a legacy for our children and our children’s children to deal with in years to come.
All these conditions and factors have combined to create an industry of fast fashion – inexpensive clothing, produced (and consumed) rapidly in response to the latest trends.
“But I give my discarded clothes to charity” I hear you say! Sadly, that doesn’t mean they don’t end up in landfill. Because fast fashion items don’t last long, they’re often not of good enough quality to sell in second-hand stores. Plus, these charities are receiving so many donations that they simply don’t have the capacity to sort, store and sell all the items, so they still end up in landfill – to the tune of around 60,000 tonnes per year. Not only is that a phenomenon amount of clothing, but charities have to pay to dump it too, costing around $13 million a year.
I think it’s pretty clear to you already that we are absolutely against the idea of fast fashion here at Ellenny Swim.
That’s because we can see the terrible effects of fast fashion at all points of the cycle. Far too many resources are used to produce clothing that is barely worn, too many miles used to ship it all around the world, then too many years spent in landfill…just for an item that is only worn a handful of times.
Instead, we’re proudly offering a product that is made to last. We’ve put a focus on using high quality materials that don’t fade and lose their shape, and will last for many seasons not just one. Because of that, we also put a lot of time and thought into the style and cut of our pieces, and the fabrics used, to make sure they are timeless and won’t go out of fashion. We focus on using eco friendly fabric, making small batches of product to ensure we don’t have unsold stock and only use manufacturers with ethical practices.
Some great ways to be mindful about your purchases are to shop local and avoid mass produced discount stores, and always be on the lookout for quality, rather than quantity. One good piece will last much longer than multiple poorly made pieces.
It’s a bit of a mindset shift for those who have fallen into the fast fashion trap, but buying clothing that last pays off in the long run. So whether it’s swimwear, a little black dress, a classic coat or just nice pieces of clothing you’d like to wear again and again, step away from the fast fashion trends and make considered, careful purchases instead. Our planet will thank you for it!
 SmartCompany. The problem with fast fashion and how it’s killing the planet. Accessed April 2023.