Photo by Celestine Ngulube/Unsplash
“Fast fashion” is defined by three cardinal traits: it’s cheap, it’s trendy, and it’s expendable. It’s a tack that has served retailers well; disposability locks consumers, often unknowingly, in a pain spiral of buying, tossing, and buying again. Junk in, junk out. But where do polyester “crêpe de chine” peasant blouses go to die? If you live in the developed world, it might be the landfill. The average American tosses more than eight trash bags worth of clothing and accessories every year, according to Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles, an international trade association for companies that grade and sort post-consumer textiles for recycling. For the entire United States, that works out to 26 billion pounds of trashed textiles, or 310,000 truckloads’ worth. Considering that we can reuse or recycle about 90 percent of fabric products, that’s an unforgivable amount of wasted resources.