The Student News Site of Gabrielino High School

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Saving the planet one shirt at a time

By Chloe Morales | Staff Writer


   For years, the fashion industry operated on a season system. This meant that new styles came out every fall, summer, winter, and spring. With the rise of online fast-fashion companies such as Zara, H&M, and Shein, new trends are circulating everyday. 

   Affordable, convenient, and trendy is how these companies market their products. If a truthful campaign were launched, consumers would hear unethical, low-quality, and even dangerous. 

   Synthetic materials with toxic chemicals are sent to factories where workers put their lives at risk to receive a wage that cannot sustain the families they have to support. The reality is that all of these unethical practices happen just for clothing to end up in landfills when a new trend comes into popularity. 

  According to the BBC, “The average American has been estimated to throw away around [81 pounds] of clothes every year.

   All of this considered, there are solutions to this environmental and human rights issue. 

   Starting with the most realistic and attainable, thrifting is a viable alternative to the problem of excessive shopping. When consumers have the urge to buy, they can turn to secondhand clothing to satisfy their needs.

   Shopping at thrift stores is the most inexpensive way to shop while staying environmentally friendly. The most common reason that people buy from fast fashion companies is due to its affordability. Thrifting gives shoppers the opportunity to pay less without contributing to unethical practices. 

   Thrifting can take place in store or online. Some thrift stores in the San Gabriel Valley include Salvation Army, Goodwill, Savers, and Crossroads. When shopping online, consumers can use websites such as Thread Up or Poshmark, where sellers put clothing and other items around their house up for sale.

   For more extravagant events such as prom, quinceaneras, or weddings, there are options to rent clothing. Rent the Runway allows buyers to rent different types of clothing for a special occasion.

   Adjusting shopping habits and mindsets surrounding fashion can make a significant difference on the environment. Instead of shopping for clothes that are for one occasion, shoppers can look for more versatile pieces.  

   Another alternative is upcycling clothing. People can look inside their closets, gather sewing supplies, and create fashionable looks with pieces they already own. 

   Not only is this an environmentally friendly practice, it can encourage people to think creatively about clothing, creating one of a kind pieces. 

   The simplest way to reduce dependence on fast fashion is to keep clothing for longer periods of time. Whether this means investing into better made, higher quality, and timeless clothing or simply re-wearing clothes after its popularity has passed. 

   For a more expensive alternative, consumers can look into more sustainable brands. 

   People can look for companies that are transparent about their material sourcing and overall production process. Support clothing brands that pay their workers a livable wage, and use recycled or natural materials. The Good Trade named Patagonia, Pact, and Eileen Fisher the top three sustainable fashion brands, among 33 others. 

   There are a plethora of solutions to this widespread problem. Although shopping for new clothes every time a new trend comes out can be addictive, there are plenty of alternatives. If everyone opted for second-hand clothing or longer lasting pieces of clothing, we could limit the amount of waste and pollution on the Earth. 

Donate to The Tongva Times

Your donation will support the student journalists of Gabrielino High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tongva Times

Activate Search
Saving the planet one shirt at a time