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Spent all of Spring break with my friends in Vermont. We toured a Ben & Jerry’s factory, hiked to a nearby quarry, and skied all day long. What more could anyone ask for? 


While driving back down from Vermont to D.C., I had a weird feeling. I didn’t feel that great about the work I was doing, mainly OMNIWOAH. It felt empty. I want to concentrate on social change and giving back to the community. I know the fashion industry pretty well because I’ve worked with brands like Ronce and Mentality multiple times before. 


Most of the drive was torture. For a better part of 12 hours, I contemplated if I wanted to continue OMNIWOAH. As I was exiting out of Vermont, I looked out my car window to take in the beautiful scenery one last time. And that's when it hit me: I know how damaging some facets of the fashion industry have on our environment, and I love nature. I pulled my car to the side of the road right then and there, turned on my phone’s hotspot, and began researching on my computer.
It was there, pulled over on the highway, that I first learned about fast fashion, a business practice promoting wasteful consumption of clothing, and its impact on our environment, especially the coral reefs. My research underlined fast fashion as one of the most polluting industries for the oceans. Although fast fashion makes clothes more affordable, it comes at a huge environmental cost. The fashion industry is estimated to produce 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is also the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.

I discovered prominent brands like GAP, ZARA, and UniQlo were also part of fast fashion. I was honestly disappointed in myself for not previously being aware of the behind the scenes and environmental impact of big clothing companies. 


What should’ve been a 12 hour car ride became 14. Once I got home, I ran to my room and started brainstorming various ideas of how I could raise awareness and fight back against fast fashion, helping restore the coral reefs.

The fashion industry has been growing rapidly every year. According to research conducted by McKinsey & Company, clothing production has nearly doubled since 2000.

In addition, while clothing sales went up 60% more in 2014 compared to 2000, they were only kept for half as long. “Fast fashion has been a particularly hot segment and a source of enviable growth for some clothing companies. By compressing production cycles and turning out up-to-the-minute designs, these businesses have enabled shoppers not only to expand their wardrobes but also to refresh them quickly.” Quicker production and consumption of new clothing from consumers have resulted in massive amounts of clothing that end up in landfills and toxic chemicals released into the environment from factories—the United Nations Environment Programme estimates that one garbage truck equivalent of clothes is burned and dumped in a landfill every second. 


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