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Let’s Talk Fast Fashion

Let’s Talk Fast Fashion
We’ve all been guilty of making an impulsive clothing purchase here or there when the moment takes us. Whether it’s a to-die-for coat that ‘miraculously’ is 50% off, or a last-minute panic buy to find an outfit for next week’s party, it can be very easy to justify to ourselves that we need to add another item to our wardrobe.

Part of this is simply because it is just. so. easy. to get our hands on new clothes. Global clothing brands continuously push out line after line of new products in a desperate attempt to keep customers interested and sales soaring. Asos alone brags an average of 5,000 new products on its website every single week.

Undoubtedly, the fashion industry in the last half century has grown exponentially, fueled by huge sums of investment from across the globe, a rise in technology and automation, and the emergence of wider social networks forming bigger marketplaces than ever seen before.

However, hidden behind this booming ‘fast fashion’ industry is a disregard towards quality, durability and sustainability. The constant cycle of what’s ‘in’ or ‘out’ has created wastelands of forgotten and outdated trends, forming literal mountains of unused and unwanted clothing across the world. The following picture is from Chile’s Atacama desert.

Miss Corona Enters the Runway

You’d think a global pandemic might stop such a fast fashion empire, right? You’d be wrong.

Whilst the sudden appearance of the Coronavirus kept people across the world inside their homes, it didn’t stop them from shopping. In fact, the unforeseeable events of the pandemic have led to unprecedented demand in the e-commerce industry for the last two years. Just in the UK alone, online retail sales were reported to have increased by ~24.4% in 2020, compared to only a ~13.1% rise the previous year.

The fashion world within the e-commerce industry has been no exception. As Miss Corona hit the global runway by storm, online clothing companies have seen their sales skyrocket. The popular fast-fashion brand, Boohoo, for example, recorded their sales soar by over 40% during a lockdown period. The growth of e-commerce during the pandemic, and in particular, the online fashion sector, comes as no surprise; as people yearned for their favourite retail shops, they turned to online marketplaces on their laptops instead.

The Packaging Problem

If the ever-growing piles of discarded clothing weren’t enough, online fast-fashion comes with its own additional environmental problems – a huge one being the excess plastic packaging produced.
For every clothing piece ordered online, you can guarantee that almost every single time, the item will come in its own individual plastic casing (whether it’s part of a bulk order or not) and then be wrapped up in another plastic-based, e-commerce mailing bag – ready to be delivered to your door.

Of course, plastic is infamous for its atrocious harm towards the environment, and in particular, towards marine life. It is actually estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic is accumulated in our oceans every year, and we can only expect this number to rise as demand within the e-commerce sector continues to grow.

So How Can envoPAP Help?

There isn’t simply an easy fix to the environmental degradation being caused in the fashion industry. However, envoPAP can at least contribute to making the packaging within this industry more sustainable.

As the pandemic hit and the world went online, envoPAP went offline to research innovative packaging solutions to meet the growing demand for e-commerce.

Made from agro-fibre materials, our e-com mailers prioritise sustainability and circularity, without compromising on strength or quality. Not only do they give a second life to an otherwise discarded material, but the envoMAILER is also certified as recyclable, compostable, biodegradable and marine degradable.
With the use of our newest material, Kraft E-Com, to create these mailers, they are purposely built to withstand the classic bumps and bruises of a transit delivery, and can guarantee the safe arrival of your order. Moreover, to reduce packaging waste and further improve sustainability in this industry, these mailers come with an optional ‘reseal’ feature – just in case a customer needs to return an item.
So, with that being said, why not make the switch from plastic to fantastic?

How Can We All Reduce Our Fashion Eco-Footprint?

As the pandemic continues on and the threat of further lockdowns comes in ongoing waves (at least in the UK), it’s perhaps best to reflect how we can minimise our individual impact on the planet, specifically with regards to our fashion choices.
So, with that being said, check out a few of my tips below on how to be a more eco-conscious shopper:

1. The question is whether you really need the item you’ve just popped into your basket…

It can be so easy to click the ‘basket’ icon without really thinking the decision through, so I like to ask myself the following questions before heading to the ‘check out page:

  • Do I see myself wearing this in 5 years time?
  • If this item wasn’t on sale, would I still want to pay the full price for it?
  • Does this item fall under a current ‘in’-trend that will be ‘out’ by next season?
  • Do I own anything similar to this already?
  • Will this pair well with items already in my wardrobe?

2. Try your local charity/thrift shops first to see if they have the piece you need.

Every single year in Great Britain, 700,000 tonnes of clothes are given away – so why not try your luck at your local charity shop! They might just have the thing you are looking for, and not only will you be giving asecond life to a perfectly good item, but you’ll also save yourself some extra cash in the process!

3. Source sustainable alternatives online when possible, and beware of greenwashing companies!

Nowadays, there is a huge abundance of sustainable alternatives for any sort of clothing item you might need – you just have to look and have a little patience. A good start is simply adding ‘sustainable’ onto the end of your google search.

3. Source sustainable alternatives online when possible, and beware of greenwashing companies!

Nowadays, there is a huge abundance of sustainable alternatives for any sort of clothing item you might need – you just have to look and have a little patience. A good start is simply adding ‘sustainable’ onto the end of your google search.

However, remember that sometimes, when something sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of companies out there that use buzzwords like ‘green’, ‘biodegradable’, and ‘organic’ to make their products seem more sustainable than they are.

It can be hard to initially spot ‘greenwashed’ items, but there are plenty of resources out there that can help confirm the authenticity of a company’s sustainability. For example, the Good on You app rates thousands of worldwide companies on their sustainability and ethics to help you decide who is best to shop from!

And of course, don’t forget that the packaging a company chooses to use is usually a good indicator of their genuine (or not) interest in the environment.

4. Put pressure on big companies, governments, and global leaders to do better.

Ultimately, not everyone can always afford to choose the most environmentally friendly option. However, there are still plenty of other ways for us as individuals to show the big decision-makers that looking after the planet is a priority for us. So, whenever there is the opportunity to do so, whether it’s a protest, petition, or something else, let’s use our voices to create a truly more sustainable fashion and e-commerce industry.

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