Since spring break is just a few weeks away and summer isn’t too far behind, I thought it would be a great idea to share what fast fashion is and why it is so bad for our environment.
So, what is fast fashion?
This term has become more and more prevalent in today’s society because more fast-fashion brands are popping up.
Now this definition doesn’t sound too shabby, does it? I mean who wouldn’t want new, on-trend clothing fast and cheap? But fast fashion is a devil in disguise. I can’t even begin to explain how unfair and disgusting the practice of fast fashion is the fact that it is becoming a bigger and bigger problem is a major concern to the environment and the fashion industry.
You may be thinking, “I don’t buy anything from fast fashion brands” but there is a high chance that you have before. Before I started learning more about the environment and sustainability, I was even buying products from these companies before.
Here is a list of a few fast fashion brands: Zaful, Shein, Forever 21, H&M, Fashion Nova, Victoria’s Secret, Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Missguided, Zara, Nasty Gal, Aliexpress and so, so, SO many more.
Negative impacts of fast fashion:
So now that I have explained what fast fashion is, let me explain to you why it is so bad.
If you could notice from the list of brands I provided, most of their clothing is cheaply made and they all have similar styles. I know I have personally seen the same product sold from two of these companies. For example, this swimsuit I found on Zaful (which means it is also on Shein) but the SAME swimsuit is being sold on Pretty Little Thing for a few dollars more.
Also, have you noticed that on all of the brands I have listed they always have huge sales going on? Here are a few screenshots from a few of them. It is just crazy to see how similar these brands are.
That leads us to our first negative impact: Dupes and knock offs:
Fast Fashion brands are known for making copies and/or knock offs products from more famous, costly brands. Now I understand people that can't afford a $1,000 Louis Vuitton bag enjoy a $50 knock off, but these fast fashion brands are taking away business from the original brands. If you are dying to have that Gucci Belt or an expensive swimsuit save up and buy the original product! You will appreciate the product even more because you had to work to get it and since the product is coming from the original company the quality will be better and the item will be much more durable.
You might already be aware that the fashion industry is the second top polluter in the world and fast fashion isn’t helping that statistic go down. Since fast fashion requires low-quality fabrics, the amount of waste from this industry rises a ton not only from factories but from consumers as well. Buying a shirt that costs $10 will not last you as long as a shirt that costs $30 will. It is worth to pay the extra money to get a good quality garment that will last you longer.
Along with waste, the fast-fashion industry produces an immense amount of greenhouse gases, water & soil pollution (microfibers), and uses a lot of energy.
Poor Labor Conditions:
Arguably the worst part about fast fashion is the conditions they have their workers in. Many employees of fast fashion companies work 14-18 hours a day earning less than a living wage. Paying people this little for the work they do is illegal in most countries.
Over 168 million children are being forced to work for little to no pay instead of getting an education.
The working conditions in these factories are anything but safe. From working in an unsafe building with improper equipment to inhaling toxic substances, chemicals, and dust, the poor workers in these factories are facing major health issues.
You, the consumer:
Hopefully, you can see all these factors are harming you as the consumer as well. By supporting fast fashion brands, you are supporting child labor, poor working conditions, extended environmental problems, wrongful pay, and the downfall of iconic fashion retailers. You are also paying for low quality, cheap products that will only last you a few months.
So, What can we do to Help?
Promote fast fashion awareness
Educate yourself on the negative impacts of fast fashion and share that information with others. The more people know about this topic, the more people will want to help limit fast fashion.
Shop at thrift stores
I rave about thrift stores a lot on my blog, but they are so important! So much waste comes along with the fashion industry. On average, clothing items are worn 7-10 times before they are disordered or replaced with something new. So instead of buying a brand-new pair of jeans, save yourself some money while helping the environment and try to find some at the thrift store.
Quality over quantity
As humans, we are always wanting the “next best thing.” It’s normal. We want and want and want. But before you buy something new, take a step back and ask yourself if you truly need it. If you decide that you do or if you are dying for a new garment like a jacket, for example, buy a nice one made from high-quality fabrics from a company with good morals. Avoid synthetic fabrics. It may cost you a little more, but it will last you way longer than that $25 jacket from H&M would.
Support sustainable/ethical brands
Here is a list of ethical brands that sell quality, stylish products.