When You Buy Vintage, You Are Helping the Earth.
Many seek out vintage clothing for the esthetic, but there is a another reason to feel your best wearing vintage. Most of the big clothing retailers fall into the category of fast fashion, which is the rapid mass production of super cheap clothing. Although the price tags may be low, the environmental costs are extremely high. Here’s why:
New clothing production is bad for the planet. The pair of jeans you may be wearing right now took roughly 1,800 gallons of water to make. The production process of making one pair of jeans also generated greenhouse gases equivalent to driving over 80 miles. Similar numbers apply to t-shirts, dresses, and most other articles of clothing.
Pollution. About 90% of the cotton grown for textiles is genetically modified, which means it is heavily reliant on pesticides. In fact, almost 20% of pesticide use worldwide is for use on cotton plants. These chemicals contaminate nearby water supplies and acidify the soil. The dyes used in the textile making process also pollute water supplies. They are often dumped directly into nearby rivers or lakes because this part of the process is often outsourced and carried out in underdeveloped countries where environmental regulations may not exist or be effectively enforced. Lastly, the production of the synthetic fabrics releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 310 times stronger than carbon dioxide.
Waste/Landfills. Americans alone throw away about 10.5 million tons of clothing every year. It wasn’t always like this. Less than 100 years ago, clothing used to be a big investment. In the 1950s people spent about 20% of their income on clothes, which meant that they valued and kept their clothing for much longer. Today, the amount of clothing produced has dramatically increased while clothing prices and quality have gone down. We are buying four times as much clothing as we used to but are spending 17% less because we buy clothes that quickly fall apart or go out of style (or both), and so we throw them in the trash and buy something new. Studies have shown that 60 percent of the clothes made worldwide are made from synthetic materials (e.g. polyester, nylon, acrylic). When thrown away, they often sit in landfills for hundreds of years, if not forever. Buying vintage means you are keeping clothing out of landfills and positively contributing to the decrease in worldwide textile demand and subsequent waste.
So you should feel great about your choice to wear vintage! Not only do you embrace individuality and timeless style, but you are being good to mother Earth.