You might not know it, but the clothing industry is second only to the oil industry in terms of pollution.

The item of clothing that has a cheap price tag invariably has an expensive environmental footprint.

Fast fashion works on the premise (with relentless advertising) that you’ll feel out of fashion as quickly as possible. The remedy? To buy new clothes, shoes and accessories of course.

Continually creating new clothing products requires the use of dwindling natural resources, a pollutant-producing manufacturing process and large amounts of fossil fuels to ship items around the globe.

Unsurprisingly, we consume more clothes than ever before, in an age where we can’t afford to — environmentally or financially. The impact of our fashion addiction is rarely seen as most clothes are produced by workers paid pitiful wages many thousands of miles away.

According to The Overseas Development Institute, 32 per cent of children aged between 10 and 14 (2,700 surveyed) who live in Dhaka’s slum settlements (in Bangladesh) are not in school, but are instead working full-time in clothing factories.

Children often do the detailed work such as beading and embellishments on the astonishingly low-priced fashion items seen in stores.

Often fast fashion items are made from polyester or acrylic which, when washed, leave plastic microfibres in the water. I’m sure it won’t be long before forward-thinking washing machine manufacturers will have microfibre filters on their washing machines.

Question time: “How many of the clothes in your wardrobe do you really wear regularly?”

I would hazard a guess there are items of clothing that you rarely wear, which were bought on a whim and then felt to be “out of fashion” or “not quite right.”

Yet we keep buying more.

Lucy Siegle author of To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? says: “A piece of fast fashion will last five weeks in the average wardrobe.”

Fortunately there is a solution to buying new clothes: swapping clothes at the AWARE clothing swap at 6:30 p.m. on Friday (April 21) at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

None of us need the vast amount of clothes we have. It’s just advertising that makes us believe we need new all the time. We never used to buy new clothes

so frequently; we’d buy quality and only replace them when we grew or the clothing wore out.

If we took care of our clothes, mended things like repairing zips and darning the hole in the sweater, we’d all have more than enough to wear. Unsurprisingly, we would also save money, and lessen the environmental impact.

Only last week I darned a pair of tights, which had a hole starting by my big toe. It took me three minutes to repair the hole, with a needle and thread and now they are good as new.

When you look at fashion in its most basic form, it’s utterly silly. Just think of The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. Who says you are only cool if you are wearing new or what everyone else is wearing? Just in case you need a reminder, you are valuable regardless of when or where you bought your shirt.

I do get that new clothes are fun, but it’s worth thinking about how long they will last.

Ask yourself, “Is this a sound investment?”

I love my organic cotton skinny jeans, which are designed to last. The company has repair shops for when a hole inevitably appears. Currently I am knitting myself a sweater with 100 per cent Canadian grown and dyed wool. The wool cost $32.45 and I’ll enjoy knitting it.

One way to cease consuming fast fashion is to adopt Courtney Carver’s “Project 333,” which is dressing with 33 items or less for three months. It certainly ensures you have a capsule wardrobe and only have clothes you love.

Another place to pick up new-to-you clothes is Deja Vogue in Function Junction. It’s under new ownership and has a fine selection of lightly used and new clothes and accessories.

If you wish to downsize your wardrobe or pick up some new clothes rather than buying new then be sure to join AWARE on Friday — the day before Earth Day — to swap, not shop. Come to the clothing swap and locally source something lightly loved and break the vicious fast-fashion-I’m-not-trendy-enough-unless-I-buy-new cycle.

Sort through your wardrobe/closet this week to give some of your previously lightly loved items a second lease of life.

There will also be a sewing machine repair station at the clothing swap, so if something needs mending bring it along and revitalize your clothes. If you want to learn how to sew on a button, come along and you can learn.Read more at:black formal dresses | cheap formal dresses