Clothing is something that we all should care about. Items of clothing are worn every day, by everyone everywhere, right? Well, your clothes may be the cause of harm to the environment after being produced at the cost of another person working in a sweatshop. At the same time, the concept of the piece itself could have been stolen from someone else. This should really surprise you. You may not expect a piece of cloth to have that many effects, but it does and you need to be aware. Fast fashion has been taking over the clothing industry without anyone realizing what’s happening.
Fast fashion is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” In fast fashion production, the clothing is made at a rapid rate and uses cheap materials to mimic trendy clothing at a lower cost. The mass market, which is anyone who wants the trend look without the cost, is targeted, as thousands of stores are stocked with these items, from puffer jackets to mimicked Balenciaga speed trainers. Popular stores, such as H&M, Forever 21, Ross, Primark and more, fall under the umbrella of fast fashion when they recreate fashion trends from high-end designer brands, such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton and streetwear brands such as Off-White and Bstroy.
The environment is being damaged because of fast fashion. “More than 60 percent of fabric fibers are now synthetics derived from fossil fuels, so if and when our clothing ends up in a landfill, it will not decay,” wrote Tatiana Schlossberg in her New York Times review of the book “Fashionopolis” by author Dana Thompson. Schlossberg also stated that about 85% of textile waste in the United States goes to landfills or is incinerated. As these fabrics are used in numerous new styles every week the effect on the environment is compounded.
Humans are also affected by fast fashion. The workforce that produces the clothing often faces harsh working conditions. “Without authorization or affiliation, fast fashion brands carry no legal obligation to ensure decent working conditions in the bottom tiers of their production network,” wrote Victoria Stafford in a blog piece for the Green Business Network.
But the worst part of fast fashion, or at least what should be the most discomforting, is that millions of consumers worldwide are spending their money and wearing these clothes, supporting a cause that is technically killing them, all for the look. H&M was worth over $15 billion in 2019, and that is just one out of the many companies that are creating their clothes with the element of fast fashion.
So, how do we combat fast fashion? The price, more than anything, is what is pulling in more people than ever. Who doesn’t want the trendy look for cheap? But that is the problem. Cheap isn’t always good, and there are ways to fight back against the ways of fast fashion. Be aware of where you’re getting your clothes from, make sure you care about the quality and don’t always focus on the trend. At the end of the day, you should be buying what you think looks good not what’s gonna get you likes.