The Complicated Relationship Between Fashion and Health

The pursuit of a truly healthy lifestyle goes beyond choosing the right food and making sure you exercise daily. Health extends to the littlest parts of your lifestyle, and that includes the way you dress.

In one way, fashion keeps you healthy by keeping you appropriately dressed for every season. It provides the warmth and comfort the body needs to function daily. Poor fashion choices also negatively affect health, such as injuries from stiletto heels or unnecessary pressure on organs due to tight clothes.

But, you may ask, aside from these, can fashion affect a person’s overall health? The answer is yes, more than you may realize.

The Effect of the Production Process

Even before clothes find their way into your closet, likely, they have already affected your health in some way. The production of clothes has profound effects on the environment.

The Global Impact of Fast Fashion

Fast fashion has been the world’s primary method of acquiring clothes for as long as we’ve known. It is the rapid mass production of garments that are distributed on a worldwide scale. It makes fashion accessible to the public through trendy and inexpensive pieces, which has resulted in overwhelming consumption and waste.

Approximately 8,000 chemicals go into the process of turning raw materials into the clothing we see in stores. The dyeing process often uses Azo dyes, which can be harmful if it comes into contact with the skin. Other dyes are also toxic when inhaled.

Making clothing then causes chemicals to make their way into local rivers where factories are located. In fact, the United Nations Environment Programme reports that the fashion industry alone is responsible for 20% of the world’s water pollution and 10% of carbon emissions globally.

Toxic chemicals harm the environment on a large scale. But they also have detrimental effects on the health of workers and wearers.

Slowing Down Fast Fashion

The good news is that companies have been responding to the urgent need for change. Sustainable fashion seeks to make the fashion industry friendlier to both the environment and human beings by reducing or eliminating the creation process’s footprint.

Ethical brands today provide safe and fair working conditions for their laborers. Aside from this, the use of non-toxic, sustainable fabrics in production is much less wasteful through less water and more recycled and non-polluting natural materials.

Should these practices be adopted worldwide, it will mean safer, slower fashion, and cleaner natural water systems. As an effect, the planet’s resources can be preserved, and people will live in a healthier environment.

How Fashion Is Tied to Mental Health

hanged clothes

The production of fashion affects the physical health of laborers and consumers in many ways. Now what comes afterward—the part where you purchase and mix and match clothes—can significantly affect your mental health.

The daily act of getting ready is also an act of self-expression. The clothes you choose to wear on a certain day show how you want other people to perceive you. Dressing up also acts as a significant motivator for the day.

Researchers from Northwestern University coined the term “enclothed cognition” to refer to the effect that clothes have on a person’s mind and performance. They explained that both the symbolic meaning of the clothes and wearing them do something to a person psychologically.

Making Fashion Healthy for Yourself

Support slow fashion.

Take steps to protect your health by supporting sustainable brands that follow ethical practices and use natural materials in production. Consumer support will encourage larger businesses to shift to better practices and work together for a healthier environment that can continue to thrive for future generations.

And the act of supporting fashion that supports good advocacies does not only help the environment. It also boosts mental wellbeing by making you feel great.

Dress to boost your mood.

If you have been struggling with motivation during the pandemic, know that this is normal. But this is why dressing up has become a critical practice in this setup. The emotional stress caused by the situation can be actively combated by boosting confidence and productivity.

Little steps, such as getting dressed and grooming yourself, could go a long way in helping you get into a rhythm of activity. See getting ready not as a chore but as a ritual to allow yourself to enjoy and feel comfortable. It can do wonders for your health.

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