I deleted my TikTok app, or tried to, because of links to too many fashion videos — the kind of videos I dislike mainly because of fast fashion and its haul videos. These trendy, one-minute videos have individuals showing off their large shopping purchases, celebrating the overconsumption of mass quantities of cheaply made clothing from fast-fashion brands.

I love fashion, but this overconsumption has to stop for the sake of our planet and for the sake of thousands of species. TikTok and other social media platforms showcase consumerism and a fast-fashion cycle that’s never-ending, and environmental disasters continue to increase alongside hyper-consumption levels.

Fast fashion places importance on mass production, offering consumers cheaply priced “trendy” items. From the manufacturing stage to doorstep delivery, the fashion industry creates more greenhouse gas emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The problem only begins there.

Once the clothes are no longer in style, they get thrown in the garbage. Left to rot in a landfill, they stay whole. Due to the non-biodegradable synthetic polymers in clothes, they further contribute to the mass amounts of waste our planet must harbour.

The textile industry alone creates 35 per cent of the most hazardous forms of microfibres and microplastics found in marine environments, as well as 17 to 20 per cent of the world's wastewater from fabric dyeing and treatment. This creates a range of issues for marine environments because microplastics do not break down at a steady pace, and instead are consumed by fish and other aquatic life.

Despite the ravaging effect the fast-fashion industry has on our environment, haul videos are still shared regularly. My solution to avoiding the constant bombardment was to just delete the TikTok app.

I was fed up with seeing the wrong kind of fashion promoted on such an enormous scale. My solution was short-lived, as the first thing my Instagram explore feed recommended was a TikTok haul video. There were even more recommendations, on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Opinion: I love fashion, but this overconsumption has to stop for the sake of our planet and for the sake of thousands of species, writes Ashley Stefureak. #FastFashion #Environment

With each of my social media feeds recommending fast-fashion haul videos, one after the other, I began to understand how bad our situation has become.

The average consumer purchases 60 per cent more clothing than consumers 15 years ago. In one 60-second video, we can see how consumer habits have changed drastically over the past decade, one cheaply made top after the other. These high levels of consumption have led to trends being shorter. This means that what is trendy now, will be out of style in the next three months when new styles take over the market. Fast-fashion brands are speeding up to meet demand.

People have become so accustomed to purchasing new wardrobes each season, they tend to forget that buying well-made, timeless clothes will not only be better for them financially but help our environment. This is something I regularly have to remind myself, as 92 million tonnes of textile waste is created yearly. This will only continue to increase if we do not change our shopping habits.

Videos on TikTok show new, and arguably, adorable clothing for a very cheap price, but there is much more that goes on beyond the screen. There are many of us, including myself, who can’t afford slow fashion.

This makes fast-fashion brands all the more appealing. Now the problem doesn't lie with those who purchase what is needed when it is needed. The problem lies in the overconsumption and its promotion. Buying an entirely new wardrobe each season is not only excessive but is incredibly wasteful and very harmful.

Thrift shopping is a positive alternative to buying from fast-fashion brands. I sometimes get lost in the sea of fast-fashion websites, scrolling through countless pages of cheap “must-have” items. I have to remind myself of the bigger picture and ask if those jeans are really worth it. Yes, it is all too alluring to wear the hottest trends for what seems like a fraction of the price; but the price isn’t reflected in your bank account, it’s reflected in our environment.

Ashley Stefureak is an Ojibwe journalist working as a journalism associate with Nature Canada.

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I woke up the morning of my 40th birthday, (42 years ago) rejoicing because I could now officially resign from any pretense of being a sex object. Being single, according to pundits I had less chance of marrying/attracting male attention than of being struck by lightening. What a relief.

At about the same time I decided to stop trying to be fashionable. and instead settled on my "professional uniform" trousers, flat shoes, and blazer jackets for all four seasons. Day in, day out for the next 20+ years that was it - the only change being made when the power suit wide shoulder look was retired. Some jackets wore out, some trousers grew too small - but were later resurrected when I lost the menopause weight gain.

When I retired in turn, I mothballed the work wardrobe, rarely pulling it out for various occasions but mostly I lived in jeans and knit shirts - wash and dry. Good by dry cleaning. Much of that wardrobe has been sold/given away the rest hangs in garment bags. - Just in case. Now when the knees in my jeans wear out from grubbing in the garden I replace them with garden worthy jeans picked up at consignment/thrift shops. It is always a triumph to find used jeans at a fraction of their original price.

Sometimes I think of my early life - a mother who had to wear a hat and gloves to go to the grocery store, who only started wearing pants at our cottage in the mid 1950's. My closet throughout my school career was no more than 30" wide. I had enough dresses, skirts, blouses, to get me from Monday to Friday and on weekends wore dungarees. I ironed my own clothes. (ironed? what's that says my granddaughter) I had one or two Sunday/party dresses.. One pair of daily shoes (oxfords) and one pair of dress-up shoes.

My 12 year old granddaughter's closet spans the width of one bedroom wall but she almost never wears anything but jeans, knit pants, and tops. Her mother is the same, pants and tops, one dress. Everyone has multiple shoes/boots but we live on a rural property which is high maintenance and we are in and out in all weathers. Fashion? what's that?
PS I still have a trove of white gloves dating from the 60's. Soon they will be antiques.

With any luck when I die, whatever remains of my wardrobe will go to relatives or consignment shops. It is all pretty standard classic stuff but a lot of it probably needs ironing!