By Chelsea McNeill
“Fast fashion” refers to the rapid production of cheap clothing in response to current trends.
Katherine Gaschk is researching waste education and behavioural change at Murdoch University. She explains “fast fashion” is seen as disposable fashion because the quality of garments are not very good.
She says one of the trend’s biggest issues is that it encourages people to regularly buy and throw away items, which requires an increased use of resources such as water and energy.
On top of that, Gaschk says fast fashion contributes to the global issue of landfill.
In a bid to reduce the environmental impact of their stores, H&M and Zara have introduced recycling programs that allow people to bring in old clothes which are then made into new items.
The recycling initiative at H&M collected over 20 million kilograms of textiles in 2018.
“A lot of people are trying to be more sustainable, but fashion is really wasteful a lot of the time,” says H&M employee Jasmine.
She says there is a constant flow of clothing brought into their stores and that a number of people come in each day to recycle their garments.
“You can sell your clothes online, but I find that for a lot of people it’s hard to get someone to buy it.”
In comparison with charity stores which don’t sell used undergarments or poor-quality clothing, the recycling programs at H&M and Zara put these items to use by turning them into something new.
“People feel as though, if they give to a charity, that’s the end of their responsibility,” says Gaschk.
“But often the charities are then burdened with clothing that is of such poor quality that it gets sent to landfill.”