What is fast fashion and why is it a problem?

With the global rise in environmental awareness, the term ‘fast fashion’ is being used more often. But what actually is fast fashion?

Jessica Bosco wrote for Marie Claire and defined fast fashion as “...cheap, trend-driven clothes and accessories that often reference major designers collections or celebrity culture, they are made in high volumes and at low cost which makes them readily available for a fraction of the price of the original.”

But what’s the issue with fast fashion?

There are a few key issues with the fast fashion industry- the first is ethical. The workers who are making these clothes are often located in third world countries, are drastically underpaid, taken advantage of and are working in unsafe working conditions.

The second issue relates to the consumer. Gone are the days of the “treasure this piece of clothing forever” mentality. As quickly as consumers are buying new clothes, they are discarding of them. The average person buys 60% more items of clothing and keeps them for about half as long as 15 years ago. Society places more pressure on the consumer to always be wearing the latest trends and therefore we are constantly throwing away clothes as new trends become relevant. This creates a big issue with waste as clothes are being disposed of at unprecedented rates.

With the demand for the latest trends sky-rocketing, brand’s must keep up with the demand and thus speedy mass production is all to common for retailer’s- our third issue. The cost on the environment for this fast mass production of garments is astounding, with predictions that by 2030, it is predicted that the fashion industry will use 35% more land for cotton, forest for cellulose fibres, and grassland for livestock.

As the inner workings of the fast fashion industry become known, there is an increase in resistance and great push back to ensure that brands are consciously choosing the ethical and environmentally friendly to manufacture their garments!


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