As the days get shorter and the leaves start to change the world just inches from Halloween. The block party can be canceled, but the holidays can’t, and soon mailrooms will be inundated with packages from Amazon and Shein containing parts for cute and trendy Halloween costumes. However, many of these pieces will never be worn again, contributing to the overwhelming problem of fast fashion and the waste of perfectly fine clothes. This year when you shop for costumes, get parts that you will use again and help reduce the national problem of overconsumption.
According to the New York Times, over 85% of discarded clothing ends up in landfills where it rarely decomposes due to the increased use of synthetics in the production of clothing. Shopping services like Shein, Romwe, and H&M allow consumers to purchase large quantities of clothing at an extremely low price, as they are able to significantly cut costs through inhumane jobs overseas. Employees work for minimal wages in unsafe conditions to provide cheap clothes to buyers, and the environmental impact is enormous.
Ideally, fast fashion could be avoided altogether. Unfortunately, there is no competitively priced alternative, as it is nearly impossible to make an ethically produced $ 5 shirt. The reality is that student consumers often can’t afford to buy parts ethically, especially when nearly every option available is some kind of fast fashion, from Target to Zara to Amazon. In a small city like Athens, shopping options are limited, especially for students who don’t have a car. Fast fashion is often the only choice for college students.
As Halloween approaches, students will begin to compile parts for the costumes, looking for the outfit that perfectly matches their costume idea. Thrift stores are often a great alternative to fast fashion, but thrift stores always have something different and so you can’t count on them to buy something specific. It is unrealistic to ask students to stop shopping via fast fashion altogether, especially in situations like Halloween, when outfits are only used for a weekend on a college budget. What we can ask students, however, is to reduce the overconsumption and waste that accompany the purchase of cheap clothes.
My advice? When shopping for clothes from fast fashion retailers, only buy pieces that can be worn over and over again. Avoid trendy items that won’t be worn by the end of the season, and donate or reuse old clothes that you won’t wear again rather than throwing them away. When choosing pieces for your Halloween costume this year, start by shopping in your closet, or your friends’ closets, for anything you can use before you buy anything online. Then when you make a purchase, find items that match your vision, but you know they’ll be worn for more than a weekend.
Inexpensive products make it easier to waste clothes because throwing away a $ 4 shirt is less of a financial burden than throwing away a $ 100 shirt. However, the environmental impact is the same, if not worse, for these cheaper fast fashion options. When shopping for Halloween this year, keep in mind the impact your costume could have and go for reusable pieces.
Katie Milliard is in her second year studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the Columnists do not reflect those of The post office. What are your thoughts? Tell Katie by emailing her at [email protected].