Fast fashion is a design manufacturing and marketing method where products are
produced rapidly according to the trend. Fast fashion clothing includes collections that
are based on the most recent fashion trends that are presented at fashion weeks or some
trend started by an influencer. Garments are produced with very low-quality materials
and are victims of counterfeit.
Earlier, consumers were ready to spend money on labels and wear trendy clothes.
However, today’s consumer wants to wear trendy fashion but are not willing to pay a
high amount. Quality doesn’t matter to those consumers since they believe in wearing
for few days and then discarding them for new trendy clothes. Due to the increasing
demand of lower standard replica- knock offs items, there was a whole new category
formed in fashion. In an effort to satisfy the customer demand, the concept of ‘fast
fashion’ came into existence.
Fast fashion has created an attitude in people of wearing and disposing. Since fast
fashion is pocket friendly, people don’t think before discarding them, hence fast fashion
is also known as ‘disposable fashion’. The speed at which the garments are produced
also tells us how many garments are being disposed by the customers creating a massive
textile waste. In Australia alone, more than 500 million kilos of discarded clothes end
up in the landfill every year. With fast fashion however, the amount of pollution has
increased at a tremendous rate.
IMPACTS OF FAST FASHION
ON THE ENVIRONMENT- Fast fashion has an immense impact on our planet. The pressure
to reduce cost and speed up the production has made manufacturers use cheap and toxic dyes, which ends up entering our water sources and pollutes them. Therefore, fashion industry is the second largest polluter of clean water. Cheap textiles too contribute in polluting the environment. Polyester is one of the most popular fabric used in fast fashion
which is made from fossil fuels. It consumes a lot of fuel for manufacturing and also releases microfibers in every wash which pollutes our oceans. For disposing when burnt in incinerator, they also release hazardous smokes that mixes in the atmosphere. But
even natural fibres cause few problems in fast fashion. Conventional cotton requires water and pesticides in large quantities which results in drought risks and makes the soil infertile very quickly.
ON WORKERS- With environment, fast fashion costs humans as well. Due to high demand of garments, workers are expected to work overtime under situations like low wages with more work and without fundamental rights. Working with toxic chemicals without proper care and sanitation can have impacts on their physical and mental health. 2013’s Rana Plaza tragedy is a great example for this.
ON ANIMALS- Toxic dyes released in the water sources and ingestion of microfibers by the aquatic life. When products that needs wool and fur in its design are produced, animal welfare is at risk. There are numerous scandals that have been reported where cat or dog fur is used and being passed off as faux fur to the consumers. The reality is that there is so much real fur being produced under terrible conditions in fur farms that it is cheaper to produce and buy than faux fur.
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACTS ON CONSUMERS- Fast fashion is also harming ourselves.
It encourages the ‘throw-away’ attitude in us. Fast fashion makes us believe that we need to shop more to look trendy and belong in the crowd, which creates a sense of need, desire and dissatisfaction.
FAMOUS FAST FASHION BRANDS
H&M and Zara are two big, famous and oldest players of fast fashion since year 1947 and 1975. Other big names in fast fashion today include UNIQLO, Forever21, Fashion Nova, Shein, GAP, etc.
Few Indian fast fashion brands are AND, Max, FBB, Biba, Rheson, Dressberry, Peter England, Allen Solly, Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, etc. have joined the long race of disposal fashion too.
Although, these brands have started using recycling products and pledged to have more sustainable products in their brand.
WHAT CAN WE DO FROM OUR SIDE?
“Buy less, choose well, make it last”- British designer Vivienne Westwood. With the increasing problems caused to our mother nature because of clothing industry, it is time for us to follow designer Westwood’s quote in order too live in a better and sustainable
environment. Converting into a minimalist is the best way to show gratitude towards our
environment and the people. ‘Happy in less’ should be our new motto of living!
Fashion Intern:- Rashi Trivedi
What Is Fast Fashion? (2021, March 29). Retrieved from https://goodonyou.eco/what-is-fastfashion/
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Fig. 2 https://thinksustainabilityblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/102753981_hm_soex0372.jpg?w=976
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Fig. 4 https://nmcdn.io/e186d21f8c7946a19faed23c3da2f0da/8ed2672177464f2e9b193130d1000c50/files/fast-fashion-industry-780×405.jpg
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Fig. 6 https://blogs.anderson.ucla.edu/.a/6a0115710a4d7d970c01a51178cc6a970c-pi