Fashion + Psychology

The ‘one-time-wear’ pandemic: fashion’s dirty secret

Whilst the world is currently aware of one global pandemic, there is another that has gone under the radar. One-time-wear and fast fashion have gone hand in hand to create their own pandemic within the fashion industry.

One-time-wear is wearing an item of clothing once before eventually banishing it to a landfill site. But do we truly understand the impact this is having on our planet? Making just one pair of jeans can create as much greenhouse gas a car driving for 80 miles. One t-shirt takes 2,700 litres of water to make, the equivalent of 1,350 days of drinking water for one person. Imagine having this much impact on our planet for only wearing an item of clothing once.

The psychology of ‘one-time-wear’

Our minds seem to be frailer than ever and social media has a huge part to play in the one-time-wear pandemic. Environmental charity Hubbub discovered 1 in 6 young people won’t re-wear an outfit again if it’s been on their social media. As well as this, 41% of young people feel pressured to wear a different outfit each time they go out. Constant adverts across Facebook and Instagram feed into our insecurities and make it seem how buying something we don’t need can give us instant gratification. However, this gratification is short lasting, almost like a dopamine hit, leaving us craving more. Shopping has adopted a compulsive buying culture that is damaging our mental health to no end.

It’s time for us as humans to open our minds about this issue. We need to understand that our insecurities of wearing something more than once are irrelevant compared to the monstrous impact it has on our planet. You may be asking yourself “how can I break this taboo”? Well actually, there are plenty of things you can do both physically and mentally to combat the fashion industry’s greatest threat:

The 30 wear pledge

Picture this: you’re shopping in one of your favourite shops and see a pair of jeans you really like but don’t need. What’s the first question that comes to your head when debating the purchase? I’m sure most of the time it’s “how much?” or “what top would these go well with?”. But have you ever pondered the question “will I wear this at least 30 times”?

Don’t feel guilty, most of us have never considered this when buying an item of clothing. However, this is something that needs to be asked of ourselves if we are to help save the world of the fast-fashion crisis. The 30 wear pledge is designed to trigger more thought in our purchases. By simply asking yourself this question, you are taking small steps to combat the one-time-wear virus. Check out Emma Watson’s Instagram, she’s a huge advocator for the #30WearPledge.

Buy less & buy better

The fashion industry is considered to be the second most polluting industry in the world. Coupled with this, the industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all maritime shipping and international flights combined. Whilst you may see the convenience of buying three t-shirts for £30, what you don’t see is 80% of all textiles go to landfill each year, something you could be contributing to with one-time-wear.

So instead of buying in bulk with cheaper clothes, why not buy more sustainably? Yes, sustainable clothing can be more expensive in the short-term, but in the long-term the value for money will be much greater than wasting £30 on three cheaply-made t-shirts. You wouldn’t be alone either. In a report by Retail Gazette, more than half of Brits are more likely to choose expensive long-lasting clothes over cheaper fast fashion items. Sustainable clothing is feel-good fashion!

Feeling charitable?

You may not realise the impact buying from charity shops has in the battle against fast fashion and one-time-wear. They are ethical and sustainable alternatives to the fast fashion craze. Vintage clothing is on trend at the moment, and charity shops are taking advantage of this to better themselves and the environment.

Next time you’re shopping on the high street, take a venture into some charity shops. You’ll be surprised at the quality of the clothes and the cheap prices you can pay. Remember that by shopping in these stores, you are actively promoting a re-use and recycle mentality. Spreading this message is crucial in the fight against one-time-wear.

Looking at the bigger picture

In order to help bring one-time-wear and fast fashion to a halt, we need to look at the bigger picture and set out our priorities. Take a moment to think about your shopping habits. Are you part of the one-time-wear movement? Fast fashion is killing the planet. It’s affecting our mental health. It’s time for us to realise that being selfish with our purchasing habits is unfashionable.

Our minds are one of the most powerful tools in the world. By taking a step back, really thinking about the items we are purchasing, the impact they have on the environment, and how many times we wear our clothes, we are taking a step closer to a world free of one-time-wear. This world may be some way off, but we can get there faster if we all opened our minds to ending this disregarded fashion pandemic.

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