Fast Fashion’s eco-activism campaigns are doing more harm than good

‘Merching for a Cause’ perpetuates many of the problems it claims to help.

If you feel upset by an environmental disaster, like the Australian wildfires or deforestation in the Amazon, donate directly to a charity that can help. Please don’t buy a t-shirt from a fashion company that says they’ll donate part of the profits to help the problem, while adding another cheap piece of clothing to your wardrobe. dress.

This trend of “merching for a cause” is ridiculous for a number of reasons. First, it assumes that the buyer does not understand the connection between the fashion industry (especially fast fashion) and the climate crisis. It is believed to be the second most polluting industry in the world after oil and gas, due to the huge amount of water and chemicals needed to grow textile crops and make clothes, the problem of the loss of plastic microfibers when washing synthetic fabrics and the methane released when clothes decompose in landfills.

As Sara Radin wrote for fashionista on this topic,

“For brands that mostly seem completely unconcerned about their carbon footprint, suddenly launching a fundraiser aimed at providing relief from climate-related natural disasters, then, is more than a little ironic.”

Second, it perpetuates the outdated idea that the world can be saved by shopping. It’s not possible, and anyone who thinks so should take a look at Earth Overshoot Day, which marks the date when the demand for resources and services in any given year exceeds what the planet can regenerate. this year. It’s clear that we need to shop less, and there’s no getting around that.

Buying “merchandise” to assuage environmental guilt is also an inefficient use of money. It makes more sense to donate directly to charity, rather than paying a company to produce a t-shirt and trusting them to donate some of their profits. Even companies that claim to care about these causes could donate more money if they donated directly, but, as Radin explains, that “would be less visible to consumers.” And we have to keep in mind that these campaigns are more about free publicity than long-term environmental commitment. That’s why it would make more sense to support brands that have ongoing relationships with environmental projects.

And do we even need to talk about the things themselves and the inevitable clutter that accumulates when we buy, buy, buy? How often are you really going to wear that t-shirt with an image of a burning forest or sad koalas? We need to go back to buying what we need, using what we have, and wearing it longer.

So please reject greenwashed pop-up fashion campaigns. If you care deeply about a cause, donate by all means, but do so without making the climate crisis worse by indiscriminately producing even cheaper clothes.

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