Wigan vintage clothing business owner speaks out about environmental impact of fast fashion

A Wigan vintage clothing business owner has spoken out about the enormous environmental impact of fast fashion.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 10:34 am
Charlotte Whinn with some of her vintage clothing

Charlotte Whinn, who runs North West Vintage Clothing Co with her husband Richard, said her enthusiasm for retro attire was partly sparked by the huge green issues surrounding what we wear.

She spoke of the horrifying statistics about the resources used to make the new clothes on offer on the high street and how much of it ends up in the rubbish barely-worn.

Environmental issues are currently top of the agenda after climate crisis group Extinction Rebellion started another major protest in London.

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And the fashion industry is well and truly in the group’s sights, with high-profile demonstrations being held against it at major events.

Charlotte says she has noticed more people concerned about their impact on the planet and hopes that will be reflected in their outfits.

She said: “So many people are talking about it at the moment and I think there’s going to be some change.

“I first started to be aware of the impact fast fashion and the clothing industry has on the environment at college 10 years ago when not much was in the media.

“Twenty per cent of water pollution comes from the treatment and dying of textiles for fashion, which is absolutely massive.

“It also takes 2,700 litres of water to make one cotton T-shirt, which absolutely blows my mind. I can’t take that in, it’s equivalent to three years of drinking water.

“The majority of cotton T-shirts we wear just a few times and then they get put into landfill or given away. Why can’t we wear them more when it has taken so much water and done so much damage to the environment?

“In the UK it is estimated that £140m worth of clothing goes into landfills each year.”

Charlotte, who is from Springfield, said that soon after becoming aware of the impact of fashion on the Earth while studying she decided to dedicate her career to selling vintage and second-hand clothing.

The green credentials of the shop, which opened at the Warrington Road site around 18 months ago, also include using paper carrier bags rather than plastic, only issuing text or email receipts and growing a range of succulents and cacti and offering those for sale alongside the clothes.

Charlotte says she hopes the store will convince people to invest in clothes that have stood the test of time rather than following annual or seasonal trends which convince consumers their purchases are outdated within months of buying them, which increases the amount ending up in landfill.

She says she tries to stock items that do not go in and out of fashion.

For more information visit www.northwestvintage.co.uk