Do you know how much of an impact the fashion industry is having on climate change? Our guess is probably not.
Put simply, fast fashion and our current shopping habits are not sustainable for our planet. Although in the UK we have the luxury of endless affordable clothing options, the increase in the availability of fast and disposable clothing is having a devastating impact on the earth and particularly on the people who are making our clothes.
Textile production produces more CO2 per year than international flights and maritime shipping combined. It is the people making our clothes as part of this industry in developing countries who are the most heavily hit by the effects of climate change.
As consumers in the UK we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe. We are responsible for a significant contribution to the dangerous global increase in temperature set to cause irreversible damage to the planet we call home.
So what can we do about it? Well, why don’t we just not buy any new clothes in June?
It may seem impossible that you alone can make a positive change when so many people are buying cheap new styles at the touch of a button. But imagine if everyone in Manchester, the UK or even the world stopped buying clothes for one month. Our small actions would grow to a much larger scale and we would make a huge impact on the global fashion industry. We challenge you to #NoNewJune.
Do you think you can go without purchasing any new items of clothing for the month of June? We’re not asking you to never treat yourself to a new outfit again, or never replace that pair of tatty shoes you’ve worn to death, so why not give it a go for just one month? Who knows, you might go into July with more money towards that round-the-world trip you’ve been saving for, or maybe you will spend the time you would be scouring the internet for bargains with a loved one instead. You might even discover the world of second-hand treasures or get more creative with what you do have.
Many consumers are already trying to recirculate their unwanted clothes by giving them to charity shops, but did you know that this in turn can inhibit the development of developing countries’ own textile industries? Charity shops in the UK are struggling to resell the increase in cheap one-wear items and are instead redistributing them overseas. Although reusing and recycling clothes are absolutely better than throwing them into landfill, the best thing we can do is reduce the amount we buy. Even if we recycle or pass on our unwanted clothes, by continuing to go back for more new clothing, we are keeping up the demand, and fashion companies will continue to produce new items of clothing in copious amounts.
Let’s see how Manchester and friends do things differently and lead the way in a change of attitudes towards fast fashion? If you’re not based in Manchester don’t let that stop you – we need as many people as possible to get involved to have a bigger impact.
Join the movement today! Sign up to the challenge at forms.gle/JzsXwddn9YhYQp4o9 and pledge not to buy new clothes in June. Follow our Instagram, @MCRLoveYourClothes, and Facebook, MCR Love Your Clothes, to help you along your journey, learn more about the impact of fast fashion on our planet and, most importantly what you can do to help. Expect weekly how-to guides throughout the challenge, including handy tips on loving the clothes you already own and where to find Manchester’s second-hand goldmines if you’re struggling to resist.
Nobody’s perfect and we’re not asking you to be, but by making a small change to challenge yourself, you can help to change the world!
Amanda Graham, Amy Wright and Amber Bayley co-founded MCR Love Your Clothes as part of an environmental leadership programme with youth charity UpRising which equips young people from under-represented backgrounds with the skills and confidence to reach leadership positions and use their voice to make positive change. They share a passion for taking care of our planet and came together through their particular interest in the impact of the fast fashion industry.