Canadians discard their frayed and outdated clothing by millions of tons every year. To avoid throwing them away, well-meaning people might donate their unwanted clothing to noble institutions such as charities or thrift stores. However, a staggering amount of these donations end up in the trash anyway due to the excessive amount of clothing these organizations receive.
But this isn’t new information. For the most part, we are well aware that our clothing is a big issue when it comes to waste and our diminishing environment. We are also well aware that most of the clothes we buy are not ethically made. Fast fashion companies make a profit at the expense of mistreated workers in developing countries. If we know these things, why do these problems persist?
We need to address not only the problems caused by the clothing industry, but why these problems exist in the first place. Why do we continue to buy from fast fashion companies when in the back of our minds, we know it’s causing harm? How do systemic issues and the fashion industry itself influence our behaviour surrounding clothing? These are the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves if we want to work towards a better future.