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Students weigh in on the environmental effects of fast fashion

Ksymena Pawlowicz found a passion for sustainable clothing after learning the harmful effects of “mindless consumerism” related to fast fashion during a course at Columbia.

Pawlowicz, a sophomore public relations major, took the “Fashion, Ethics and Aesthetics” course in the fall, which she said revealed the truth about fast fashion, from unethical child labor to its environmental impact.

“It was a really eye-opening and really hardcore class,” Pawlowicz said. “I think more about those people and their labor than I used to before.”

Fast fashion, which is when a brand replicates high-fashion designs to mass-produce them at low costs, has become an easy fix for some people looking for affordable, trendy items during the pandemic.

With many people shopping online to avoid leaving their homes, online stores like Shein and Zaful have grown significantly in popularity, selling items that reflect popular trends but at cheaper prices.

According to Business Insider, 85% of textiles are wasted annually, and fashion production makes up 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. It is also the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply and pollutes the ocean with microplastics.

Fast-fashion brands often use synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon and acrylic, which take years to biodegrade. A 2017 report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimated that 35% of all microplastics in the ocean come from washing synthetic textiles. Read from source….