With our growing population and the age of the internet that we live in, we spend a lot of money on clothes, which is not always good for our planet. Companies like Forever 21, H&M, or even Zara are significant contributors to the fast fashion industry and make fashionable and cheap clothes that cost our environment a lot because the mass production of trendy items is not helpful to Earth. As these clothes go in and out of fashion with the click of a finger, most of them are usually thrown out and end up in land fields.
What is fast fashion?
This term started gaining traction in the past few years and is prominent in environmental talks about the fashion and clothing industry. It refers to clothes that mimic current catwalk styles and are cheaply produced, usually overpriced, and are sold at popular fashion outlets or online. They are usually quickly found in stores after a clothing item is trending, and this is done to maximize one’s profit and ride the wave of current trends. As its name suggests, it involves the fast production, marketing, and distribution of clothing and accessories.
The first time the time was used was at the beginning of 1990 and was used to talk about Zara production and distribution of clothing. It took them approximately 15 days from start to finish of the design and sale of a particular product. One study conducted by the United Nations found out that the fast fashion industry is responsible for approximately 10% of the planet’s carbon emission and produces more carbon than maritime shipping and international flights combined. This shows their devastating impact on mother Earth.
Why is it detrimental for the planet?
Because of their production in mass and colossal demand, the fast fashion industry is awful for our environment and is responsible for 10% of the world’s global gas emission, which is as much carbon emission that the EU produces. It uses a huge amount of water and dye, which usually end up in freshwater streams without being appropriately processed, and 85% of all textiles end up in land fields or dumps every year. This means that there is an obscene amount of waste, and best these companies follow trendy, the clothes are usually out of fashion within weeks or moth and are not worn out again, which is why they fill upland fields.
Environmental and social effects:
Most of the fast fashion brands currently on the market plan to use mostly cheap and synthetic fabrics like acrylic, polyester, and nylon. These materials take eons to decompose naturally. According to the IUNC or International Union for the Conservation of Nature, about 35% of all the non-biodegrade plastic and other microplastics fibers that are currently loitering around in our oceans come from the laundering of synthetic textiles. The average American produces about 82 pounds of clothes waste annually, and this is why you should shop in fast fashion outlets and instead start shopping in thrift stores.
The fast fashion industry usually begins in ‘third-world’ countries like Bangladesh and China, and the worker of this industry are exploited and underpaid and are seen are replaceable objects. These are the aspects of fast fashion that people don’t usually talk about because we live in a world where there is nothing wrong as long as white bodies don’t suffer. Hundreds of people die each year because of the fast fashion industry. The young fashioned industry mainly employs young women from these developing countries, and 80% of them are aged between 18 to 24. In some instances, some factories even use underage children to do their bidding and are, of course, underpaid and exploited for all their hard work.
To grasp the exploitation of these people, let me give you a concrete example; in 2013, an 8 storey building collapsed in Bangladesh and killed 1134 workers and injured over 2500 others. This didn’t even make it in international news. Why would you ask? Because developed countries have always benefited from the labor of black and brown bodies. This news didn’t make any splash in international waters. After all, it was not seen as something to rave about because white people weren’t hurt or injured from this, but rather they profited from this inhumane business.
Personally, I only buy clothes from thrift shops these days, and if I buy clothes from a store, I do my due diligence before and do my research on them and avoid shopping in fashion brands that profit from the fast fashion industry. Sound off in the comments section below and tell us if you are outraged by the fast fashion industry.