Fashion + Festivals

Festival ‘wear it once’ mentality needs to change

The problem with festival fast fashion

The problem with festival fashion starts with it being a buy, wear, throw away business model. Fast fashion is a highly profitable business model based on replicating trends and high-fashion design. This is not sustainable as these trends are being mass produced at low cost. Festivals are a main culprit of fast fashion because consumers buy cheap clothes to wear to them and throw them away afterwards. 

“This is wasteful, expensive and unsustainable, both in terms of the environmental costs of making new outfits and the tonnes of wasted clothes which then end up in landfill”

Barnardo’s

The independent reported, in a survey people said that they would “feel embarrassed” wearing an outfit to a special occasion more than once. This is more prevalent in younger shoppers. They may feel as though once they have posted the outfit on Instagram it cannot be worn again. 

Fast fashion revolves around the idea of “more, more, more” promising new clothes at low prices. As consumers, brands sell the idea of needing to constantly update our wardrobes and keep up with trends. Festival season can be one of the most profitable for many brands such as H&M, Zara and PrettyLittleThing. Many of them have festival aesthetics on their homepages as soon as their apps are opened with entire collections dedicated to festival fashion. 

Teen vogue found that a recent study showed 7.5 million outfits each year are single-use ones purchased for music festivals. This amount of disposable clothing isn’t sustainable and extremely damaging for the planet as it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution during production.

Why do people not want to rewear outfits?

Rewearing an outfit is now a lot more important than anyone thinks. A London based survey was completed for the Barnardo’s charity and “found that single-use outfits for music festivals, such as Glastonbury and Coachella, alone, account for approximately $307 million worth of items per year, or about 7.5 million outfits worn only once,” The Fashion Law reports. 

Social media such as Instagram, Tiktok and YouTube all contribute as influencers show off buying their new festival outfits and make videos dedicated to finding the ‘best ones’. The outlook proliferated by Instagram is that outfit re-posts are avoided to maintain a certain grid aesthetic. 

Regarding the pandemic, a lot of uncertainty surrounds the future of fast fashion. With 2020 festivals cancelled the need for fast fashion declined. But does this mean that when normality returns fast fashion will skyrocket and become even more of a problem? Right now is a great time for consumers to re-evaluate their consumption habits and make sustainable change. If current trends continue, Zero Waste Campaign Associate, Olivia Sullivan states “there will be enough waste to fill the Great Wall of China.” 

What are brands doing to veer away from ‘wear it once’ and continue towards more sustainable alternatives?

Clothing brands including Tala have new business models regarding this unsustainable fast fashion problem. With research and articles on their website stating “Why it’s okay to wear the same outfits more than once” giving reasons such as “No one really cares, You save money, You save time, No one is judging except you and that it’s ECO-friendly.”

Saving money and time is a good business model for consumers as these ideas come from the same concepts of fast fashion. Instead of saving money and time buying cheap clothes on next day delivery. You would save by rewearing clothes you already have instead of buying new ones every season. It’s better to buy a great quality item knowing it will last and you will get a lot of wear out of it. Bargains aren’t always the bargains you think they are.

There are 5 ways you can become a more conscious fashion consumer. Such as “buy less & consume more, conscious care, repair & rewear and thrift shop hunting.” The fashion industry is one of the leading waste producers contributing to the ongoing climate crisis. Industry professionals and designers are taking their stance but consumers changing their ways is how real change will occur. You can still be fashionable while making sustainable decisions regarding your consumerism. Change needs to happen. It needs to start now .

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