Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Guardian: UK households binned 300,000 tonnes of clothing in 2016

Ideally, garments are repaired, used in a variety of situations as they age, and passed on to others.
An article in today's Guardian is a reminder of the environmental cost of buying cheaply made, disposable trendy clothes (including those mischaracterized as "classic" or "traditional").
The carbon footprint of the UK clothing sector is worsening, a new report reveals, driven by the ongoing popularity of cheap and cheerful “fast fashion”...

15 comments:

  1. Disgraceful and a true reflection of the consumerist/throw-away society we've become. My parents always taught me to "buy the best you can afford and look after it". I've never really gone in for fast fashion, I prefer tried and tested styles which last from year to year and gather character with age. I make very minor repairs myself or pass them to my Mum if they require a bit more skill! If I do find myself 'having a clear out', I'll try and recoup some of the cost of the item on ebay to put towards something else, alternatively I donate to charity and let someone else enjoy the item for a few more years. The only time my clothing ends up in the bin is when it is no longer befitting for my vegetable patch scarecrow!

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    1. Good for you, Mad Dog. So nice to hear from people who still appreciate good quality in clothing. I must admit to having bought cheaper items in the past only to regret it later, every single time. When I was working in the corporate world, I bought beautiful women's suits and clothing, most of which I still have today. But since retiring from that work and live a much more casual lifestyle now, I've found myself buying cheaper clothes to work outside and garden, and they fall apart. I'm on the hunt for good quality, laid-back clothing for my outdoor, bad-weather-living lifestyle now, such as what is show here.

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  2. I hate the whole idea of "fast fashion ". Or trendy. Or anything celebrities are wearing. I also come for ideas. A nice bit of sartorial sanity.

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  3. My daughter had seemed to have been stuck on the hoodie (Harry Potter fans note the lack of film "wardrobe") for ages -- she was more into technology and had/has a marked dislike of shopping for clothes of any kind/type. Her classmates and peers were & are all of the same ilk. Now, her place of employment is "corporate casual" and the kids (as they appear to me) working there all look like they are emulating the Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg uniform. So maybe after decades of conspicuous consumption the pendulum is swinging the other way. Millennials have taken a lot of criticism, but from my (albeit limited) exposure of that age bracket, they are refreshingly less clothes-centric. I am not a data scientist, however, I don't think it's a coincidence that so many retailers are finding it hard to grow revenue.

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  4. Anonymous 7:21, my 25 and 27 year old are just as you describe your daughter and her peers, as far as minimalist fashion goes. My daughter started to dislike fast fashion during college. My son learned hard lessons from buying too many "essentials" from The J Crew bunch. I think they are pretty typical U.S. city millennials., but perhaps the high-schoolers are still into owning lots of the fast and disposable stuff? An interesting thing I notice is that my kids and their male and female friends are spending good (?) money on skin care products to prevent aging. They all seem to hold Korean skin care lines in high regard. My daughter and her friends are carrying small batch purses that they find on Etsy. They're wearing jewelry so scant that it's almost invisible, so when I read that Tiffany is having troubles, I can believe it. They all seem to enjoy giving and receiving gifts they create themselves. In fact, I agree with you that it's hard to imagine how U.S. retailers will adjust to millennials, but I admire their efforts to steer clear of this wasteland of spent fast fashion.

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  5. This article started a conversation between a friend and myself.
    I cannot remember, while I was growing up, everyone shopping for so much stuff as they do now.
    We were doing other things.
    Too much time shopping or around shopping areas makes it really easy to contribute to waste.
    I remember growing up and going months without buying things, let alone clothes!

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  6. Whatever happenned to "Mend and make do"? My depression era parents taught me thrift and re-use. We need to get back to that. However, look at the materials used to make clothing most of the time now, and you will be hard pressed to find much that can stand to be patched. Disposability has almost become built in. Yes, there are good solid cottons and durable woolens available, but these are not mass market.

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    1. "Disposability has almost become built in"

      Oh, absolutely. It should be a sure sign of a poor product but it's actually working in favour of manufacturers. It's staggering isn't it?! Years ago, most manufacturers built to last. You bought well and you bought once. Today there are lots of people with lots of disposable income and they are happy to spend spend spend without a thought as to what they're buying or what impact they're having. Manufacturers know this, their products are almost engineered to last for just long enough until the new must-have version comes out, which isn't a very long time, then they are marketed aggressively by so called 'brand ambassadors', 'influencers' and 'social media personalities'. The message is "you've got the old one, we want to sell you the new one". Look at consumer products like mobile phones, trainers, cars; how many different model variations are there, limited editions, special editions, bespoke editions, an extra letter added, an exclusive colourway, a limited number produced. Neither add much value to the product in real world terms but massively relieve the consumer of their hard earned money.

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    2. Years ago, Coach was a nice leather goods line. Their products were good quality and lasted forever. They decided that they were missing out on return business, so they went the way of the trendy and cheap (not inexpensive, but cheap. I love my old Coach and have not bought their products in many, many years. I rolled my eyes at young women who get all giddy over Coach. My apologies if you are one of these. To me, it has lost it's appeal.

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    3. I am one of those Coach people, but I'm not offended by your comment because I agree with you. They used to be a wonderful leather product, and, like you, I still have all of my old Coach bags, 25+ years now, and they still look good. But I certainly don't have any with the big "C"'s on them or any of the new faddish (is that a word?) ones. But, yes, the new ones have lost their appeal to me.

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    4. Maybe I need to clarify. I don't turn my nose up at the old Coach, just the newer stuff. The ones with the C's were too much. I'm a big fan of Murder, She Wrote. I love that Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) always carry a Coach leather bag.

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  7. Do you suppose these are believable numbers? It works out the about 10 pounds per person per year. Don't believe everything you read.

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  8. Unless items are worn out and unusable, send them here for distribution to developing countries: http://www.planetaid.org/what-we-do/for-the-environment/what-happens-to-your-used-clothing

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  9. Quilts, quilts, quilts, quilts, quilts! And other useful things from quality items you have embued with momories over the years. Make them, give them, use them! Just suggesting (smile, nod)...

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  10. I wouldn't doubt those numbers are accurate Blue Train. I regularly peruse as well as donate to thrift stores, and so many of them are bursting at the seams with clothing these days. In fact, there are some days where they actually have to turn donations away because they are running out of space. A couple of years ago I would regularly find items that I would purchase, but it's becoming fewer and fewer because so much of it is garbage. It's really a shame.

    Quilts are a great idea, as long as the material is high quality. Unfortunately, so much of the fabric used these days is crap that either doesn't hold up, or pills to excess. Not exactly something I would want to use in something that takes as much time as a quilt.

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