Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers for designs that flow from the catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. “Fast fashion” was started in the late 1980’s. The primary objective of fast fashion is to timely produce a product in a cost effective manner to respond to fast-changing consumer preference. This efficiency is achieved through the retailers by understanding the target market.
Retailers aimed to increase profit by focusing on key elements of the supply chain with an emphasis on increased manufacturing speed at a low price. The idea of fast fashion is to get the newest styles on the market as fast as possible, so the customers can snap them up while they are still at the height of their popularity, and then, discard them after wearing few times. With consumers understanding and accepting the low quality of the garments in substitution for lower prices, they are quick to throw away the items and move on to the next trend.
Some of the biggest fast fashion brands includes Uniqlo, Forever 21, zara, H & M, Stradivarius, Topshop, Victoria’s Secret etc. Some fast fashion brands deliver up to 50 collections a year.
Impact of fast fashion
The environment is affected because of the pressure of the company’s to reduce costs and speed up production time. Fast fashion’s negative impact includes its use of cheap, toxic textile dyes which is polluting the environment. The constant speed and demand means there is also increasing stress on other environmental concerns such as land clearing, biodiversity, and soil quality. Fast fashion also creates huge amount of textile waste because more and more clothes are being disposed of by consumers. In fast fashion factories, workers are constantly exposed to these toxic chemicals and are breathing in their fumes. The wastewater emitted from factories flows into our waterways and seeps into our agricultural fields.
Is fast fashion going sustainable?
Nowadays, we have seen a growing number of retailers introduce sustainable and ethical fashion initiatives such as in-store recycling schemes. These schemes allow customers to drop off unwanted items in “bins” in the brands’ stores. But only a few is being collected by charities and take back programs is recycled into a new textile fibre.
A few apparel businesses have begun tackling sustainability challenges on their own. H&M and Levi’s has moved to sustainability by collecting clothing and footwear for reuse and recycling. They provides collection bins, sorts the items so anything wearable can be sold, and recycles what is left.
Article by Lakshmi.B.vinod