Hello boys and girls and everyone inbetween, above and below! In this article I'll be breaking down the concept of fast fashion and what it really is.

Fast fashion is used to describe cheap, trendy clothing that are very quickly coming in and out of style. Many fast fashion retailers introduce multiple items a week in order to stay on trend, and they have a total of 52 seasons a year, unlike before when retailers had only two or four seasons. Basically all brands you shop are fast fashion - just go into your closet and check the labels on your clothing, chances are, most are fast fashion brands.

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So how did fast fashion manage to take over our closets and become so successful. It's said that it is a response to a huge market of consumers that are demanding high fashion and a low cost. But the truth is that fashion retailers are actually creating that demand because selling a shit ton of clothes is really profitable. But how exactly do they maximize that profit? Well, instead of replenishing their stock, they replace the items that sell out with new items of a different style, deeming our older clothes outdated and unfashionable, and also making us constantly want to keep shopping for new, trendier clothes. Because fast fashion are regularly hunting for new trends, many times they copy and steal ideas from independent artists. They use advertising to stay relevant and further promote their constant changing trends.

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But the worst part is that they use cheap labor that is often sourced from sweatshops, which are factories where workers are employed at inhumanely low wages for long hours and under very poor working conditions. This leads us to the first of two aspects I want to bring up in this article:

Labor

In Bangladesh, sweatshop workers will earn $33 per month, which is way below the living wage of $60 a month. They’re forced to work from 14-16 hours a day, seven days a week, in often hazardous conditions. In 2013 a garment factory in Rana Plaza in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, collapsed, killing more than 1100 people and severely injuring another couple thousand.

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This is the very worst garment factory incident in modern history, but due to the terrible conditions the workers face, injuries and even death are not an all too unusual occurrence. The reason for this is because the fast fashion companies are constantly demanding lower prices, which leads to factory workers cutting corners to make due. Turning the companies down is not an option because they need the business, and if they say ‘no, we can’t take a price that low’, the companies will move on to the next factory.

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Female workers also face sexual harassment and abuse, and no access to maternity leave. Factory management in many cases prohibits the creation of trade union, which prevents the workers from defending their rights. Workers are also exposed to harmful and carcinogenic chemicals and child and slave labor are prevalent in sweatshops, which leads us to -

Environment

Fast fashion comes at a huge environmental cost. Garment production in unregulated factories as resulted in toxic chemicals often used to create vibrant colors, prints, and fabric finishes. These chemicals can enter our body through the skin, leading to major outbursts of illnesses and children being born with physical and mental disabilities at a large rate. The chemicals are dumped into streams and rivers polluting the water and soil of nearby areas.

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Because fast fashion is so cheap and disposable, consumers are throwing their clothes away at unprecedented rates; 5% of all landfill space is textile waste. On average, every US citizen alone (and I’m taking America as an example because it’s what I can find statistics on) throws away 70 pounds/30 kg every year. Brands also choose to incinerate their old stock rather than donate it because they claim it “ruins their image”. Yeah.

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According to a recent report, the textile industry emits more greenhouse gas emissions than international shipping and aviation combined, and with some reports claiming it’s the second dirtiest industry in the world. (following the meat industry).

Fast fashion takes fashion victim to a whole new level, and if you are a fashion victim, stop it. Get some help. No but for real, this is, as a person who is very passionate about fashion, something very dear to me and something I want to work with in the future! I don't want to spend my money on something that harms other people and our earth so very much, and neither should you.

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To really get an insight of the impact of this industry, though, please do watch the documentary The True Cost. It’s on Netflix and a definite eye opener. I’ve heard of many people who have completely turned their habits around because of that film!

Thanks for reading!

ps. I'll have an article on how to quit fast fashion out soon. x

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