Bit of a dark header hey? But now that I’ve got your attention, it’s time to get a little bit serious.
What is “Fast Fashion”?
Fast fashion is described by Google as ‘inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends’. Businesses that produce fast fashion clothing do have a lot of perks. They provide people who aren’t very well off with their basic clothing and it gives other people a chance to be fashionable and on trend without splurging all your wages. You can’t blame people for enjoying a good bargain!
By polls, our audience is between 16-25 which means that most of you are either a student or you’re working and only really have money for rent and food, leaving you with very little left over at the end to splash out on things like new clothes (girl trust me, I can level with you here). This is why shops such as Pretty Little Thing, H&M or Zara seem like a great idea, and almost too good to be true.
That’s because these stores ARE too good to be true!
Unfortunately though, fast fashion has become a big problem as the clothing that is sold by fast fashion businesses is being produced so quickly and sold so cheap, that consumers are constantly buying new clothes to keep up with current trends. This means there is a large amount of waste being produced. Furthermore, a lot of these garments are being made with synthetic fabrics, which are NOT biodegradable and will still be piled up in landfill for years and years to come. Sad huh?
It’s really popular at the moment to be finding new and creative ways to help protect the ocean and ocean life from plastic rubbish and debris, and it’s amazing that people finally want to help to protect our planet but you don’t really hear anyone worrying about fashion waste! Here’s a fun fact are that I pulled from the Internet to help show you the depth of our fashion waste dilemma…
Did you know that fashion waste, second to oil, is the largest polluter in the world and that consumers throw away an average of 70 pounds of shoes and clothing per person annually? That’s 20 items of clothing PER PERSON
GLOBALLY, PER YEAR.
To make matters worse, a lot of the clothing that we’re buying we don’t even want. Here’s the cheeky part though… Consumers aren’t creating the demand for fast fashion, fast fashion organisations are.
Fast fashion brands, such as Zara, will see “on trend” items that celebrities and influencers wear which evidently, will become a popular item to sell. They will then be able to produce a new collection for their stores in just short of a week that will keep that range “relevant” and “in demand”. Fast-forward through the weekend shopping sprees and an item sells out, what do they do? Well, instead of replenishing that stock, they’ll replace it with a new product so that the old one seems out-dated and our desires to be on trend force us into buying clothing that we don’t need or have the room for. See the cycle here? Clever, but a big NO from the environmental side.
Fast fashion can be unethical in other ways too… Because these businesses are selling their stock so cheap, a lot of it is produced in other countries where the staff are paid incredibly low wages and expected to work long unreasonable hours with little consideration for their health, safety or wellbeing.
In 2013 the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1134 people in the process. The top floors of this building contained clothing factories and when the stores on ground floor spotted cracks in ceiling, they closed their stores immediately. However, regardless of the close of trade downstairs, the clothing factories were told to continue working like normal the following day. These clothing factories produced garments for 28 international brands, including fast fashion ones. How does that “Nothing Over $15 Sale”
Hopefully, slowly but surely we are able to diminish these poor conditions on both land and lifestyle sides by encouraging second hand shopping/renting! If you’d like to know a little bit more or are still unsure about Fast Fashion, watch this short video by Kristen Leo who explains it all in under 5 minutes.