Prompted by an assigned class project, a group of five students are striving to implement solutions on a local scale, recognizing the crucial role of community engagement in addressing this global challenge. With a deep understanding of the significance of combating climate change, we are determined to navigate the complex intersection of fashion, sustainability, and the pressing need for climate change action. 

First and foremost, let us introduce the class that initiated the flame of inspiration- ENSC003, led by esteemed Professor Francesca Hopkins. As outlined in her syllabus, the core goal of the course is to provide students with an introduction to truth, courage, and solutions to confront the climate change crisis head-on. Through the class project, we were tasked with embodying these three fundamental elements by demonstrating our understanding of the scientific aspect of climate change, empowering ourselves to take action, and delving into the exploration of potential solutions on a collective and individual scale. This class serves as a catalyst for past, present, and future students enrolled in the course, equipping them with the necessary tools and knowledge to make a meaningful impact. 

In targeting the fashion industry, we aim to decrease carbon emissions with the objective of mitigating climate change, which refers to the sustained adjustment of global temperature, particularly their rise. Many human activities lead to a mass release of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane, which are responsible for creating the greenhouse effect that confine the sun’s heat. The fashion sector plays a significant role in the Climate Crisis by promoting Fast Fashion, the rapid production of inexpensive clothing, leading to environmental deterioration and generation of carbon emissions and other greenhouse gasses. In addition to its detrimental environmental contributions, fast fashion relies on cheap labor and exploitative unethical practices employed by profit-driven corporations. The long-term effects of fast fashion place our environment and the future biodiversity of our planet in peril. 

Introducing the Team 

The dedicated members involved in working on the project are Esthefania Rodriguez, a third year political science major, Brayan Cifuentes a second year political science major, Joshua Mora a fourth year transfer education major  , Anthony Kyriakakis a second year media and culture studies major, and myself, a second year English major. 

Our project seeks to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of the production and distribution of textile within the fashion industry. Fast fashion has led to the rise in both pre- and post production textile waste. We advocate for individuals to choose sustainable clothing brands that have lower environmental impact. Our objective is to educate others about the hazards of fast fashion, and provide ethical alternatives. Through social media and reaching out to The Highlander, we aim to make our information more accessible to others. Fast fashion encourages excessive production and consumption, we urge you to minimize your consumption and support sustainable alternative brands. 

A normal response to our rapidly warming planet can have us feeling helpless and eco-anxious, however there are simple things that anyone can implement in their lives, such as supporting local thrift stores (reduces the probability of waste/landfill) and buying, selling and trading clothes online (Ebay, Etsy and Facebook Marketplace are fantastic platforms). Most importantly, sometimes consumers are unaware of ecological  unfriendly conglomerates and brands such as Amazon, Zara, Shein, FashionNova and many others. 

How to Spot a Fast Fashion Brand: 

  • Variety of latest trend clothing
  • Brief period of when a trend or clothing item is showcased on media platform and when it becomes available to purchase in-store
  • Practice offshore manufacturing, located in area where labor is low cost, and provide minimal and obscure transparency
  • Utilizes inexpensive materials, such as polyester which results in imminent deterioration 

As a result of this project, each of us gained valuable insight. Many of us as college students actively participate in the consumerism of fast fashion brands. Collaborating and coming up with solutions allowed us to  find a creative approach of outreach, and to reflect on our own contribution to the larger problem: climate change. The objectives of the course and project resonated with us as we investigated this industry thoroughly, revealing the devastation left in its wake. You can learn more about our project by following our Instagram, @befastfashionfree.