The Reality of Fast Fashion


When the seasons changed or we outgrew our clothing, going shopping for clothes used to be a rare occurrence that only occurred a few times a year. However, something changed some 20 years ago. The cost of clothing decreased, fashion cycles accelerated, and hobby shopping emerged.

The international fashion chains that now rule online shopping and our high streets introduced fast fashion. Why is fast fashion such a problem? And exactly what effects does it have on people, the environment, and animals?

What is fast fashion?

Fast fashion is characterized as low-cost, stylish clothes that quickly respond to customer demand by stealing design cues from catwalks or celebrity culture and putting them in stores.

The goal is to launch the newest trends as soon as possible so that consumers can buy them while they are still fashionable and then abandon them after only a few wears. 

It supports the notion that wearing the same clothing repeatedly is a fashion taboo and that if you want to look stylish, you must wear the newest trends as soon as they emerge.

It is a crucial component of the harmful system of excessive production and consumption that has made fashion one of the worst pollutants in the world.

What are the implications of fast fashion?

Damaging our environment

The environmental effects of fast fashion are quite significant. Safe environmental practices tend to take the backseat in efforts to decrease costs and accelerate production. 

The use of inexpensive, hazardous textile dyes, a byproduct of fast fashion, makes it one of the worst worldwide pollutants of pure water, right up there with agriculture.

Microfibers and microplastics

A major factor in the problems in the fashion industry is the use of microfibers and microplastics. Whenever you wash your clothes, microfibers—which are tiny pieces of plastic—come off synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. About 700,000 microfibers are removed with each wash.

These are eaten by aquatic life which we eventually consume as well. One of the ways that plastic enters our food chain is through these inexpensive clothing items.

Labor exploitation

Fast fashion has an influence on garment workers who are deprived of basic human rights, work in hazardous conditions, and earn inadequate wages. Farmers who work with harmful chemicals and unsustainable methods further down the supply chain may suffer terrible consequences on their physical and emotional health.

Explore some of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and work against fast fashion

Without a doubt, the prospect of starting from scratch to create an ethical wardrobe is daunting.  Here are some pointers to get you started.

Choose trans-seasonal clothing

Only invest in something you are certain will serve you well all year long, spending most of your money on items that will last you longer than one season. A wardrobe made up of stacked jeans, classic skirts, coats, t-shirts, and jackets will be far more environmentally friendly.

Use the 30 wears test

Try to avoid investing in that statement piece you know you will only wear once and opt instead to get something more durable that you can wear repeatedly. The most important question to always ask yourself is, “Will I wear it at least 30 times?

Gain more knowledge

Being more environmentally conscious can be challenging, especially when it comes to knowing where to start and where to shop. 

Find a few companies that value ethical behavior by conducting some research and start there. Your knowledge portfolio will expand over time, giving you a wide range of labels to pick from.

There are a lot more problems throughout the intricate supply chains of large fast fashion businesses, but regrettably, the majority are not covered by the mainstream media. Fast fashion is responsible for extensive damage, including harm to the environment and violations of human rights. 

However, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Being aware is the first step in taking on this market.

We can start to push for change as we increase the number of people who are aware of what’s going on behind the scenes. The next step is to support labels that are actively against fast fashion.