Have you ever wondered what goes into the production of fast fashion? How do designers bring their ideas from runway to retail in such a short amount of time? What are the ethical implications behind this business model? Well, wonder no more!
What Is Fast Fashion?
Do you ever wonder how the latest fashion trends get to the stores so quickly? It’s all thanks to fast fashion! For shoppers, this means that you can get your hands on the trendiest clothes for a fraction of the cost of designer pieces—but it does come with a few drawbacks. Fast fashion is often made with lower quality fabrics than those used for designer pieces, leading to shorter lifespans for these items of clothing and creating more waste. Additionally, fast fashion companies often skimp on worker safety and wages in order to maintain their low prices.
Pros & Cons of Fast Fashion
You might have heard the term “fast fashion” but what does it mean exactly? It’s a business model grounded in keeping up with the latest trends and designs, mass-producing them at a low cost, and delivering them to retail stores quickly. Now that you’ve gained an understanding of what fast fashion is, let’s explore its pros and cons.
- Cheaper prices: The lower price point of fast fashion clothes compared to luxury designs makes them more accessible and attractive to shoppers.
- More eco-friendly: Fast fashion brands are able to speed up the production process to meet consumer demands, reducing the amount of fabric waste.
- Convenient access: Clothes are delivered faster than traditional fashion lines and shoppers can easily keep up with the latest trends.
- Low quality fabric: Quality is sacrificed for cheaper prices.
- High environmental cost: Although faster production process can reduce fabric waste, it also increases carbon emissions due to higher energy consumption.
- Exploitation of labor: Low wages for workers in countries where clothing is produced can lead to unethical practices by brands.
Fast fashion has become an integral part of today’s consumer industry, but as always, it’s important to weigh up all sides before shopping!
Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion
You may not know this, but fast fashion has some major environmental implications. Not only is it a huge drain on resources, but it also produces an alarming amount of textile waste—we’re talking millions upon millions of tons each year!
Here are some issues associated with fast fashion:
- Use of hazardous chemicals in textile production and dyeing processes
- Microfiber pollution from washing synthetic fabrics
- Air pollution from emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide
- Water contamination due to wastewater created by dyeing fabrics
- Overconsumption and wastage of finite resources (like water)
- Greater burden on landfills due to increasing textile waste
Given all this as well as the fact that most garments won’t last more than a few wears anyway, opting for more sustainable shopping options is a step in the right direction.
How to Shop Consciously & Responsibly
Shopping ethically and responsibly is the key to making sure fast fashion doesn’t continue to harm our planet.
Know the Brand
Do your research! Before you add something to your cart, make sure you understand where it comes from, how it’s made, and what the company stands for. If a brand isn’t transparent with their production methods or materials used, then it may be better to look elsewhere.
Quality Over Quantity
Instead of buying something that falls apart after one wear, look for items made with quality materials that will last more than a few wears. And remember—you don’t need to keep up with trends either! Investing in timeless classics will always be worth it in the long run.
Supporting Sustainable Brands
You might not know this, but you can actually support sustainable brands behind the scenes of fast fashion. While the fast fashion industry may be a ‘quick-and-dirty’ way of producing clothes in order to keep up with trends and consumer demand, it doesn’t mean all fashion labels are using unethical practices.
Supporting sustainable fashion brands helps counteract the destructive production processes of fast fashion. There are many sustainable fashion labels that guarantee ethical sourcing and production, such as Everlane and Reformation. These companies prioritize ethical practices such as getting rid of toxic dyes used in traditional textile manufacturing or using recycled plastic to make their garments.
Alternatives to Fast Fashion Shopping
You may not know this, but there are plenty of alternatives for shopping sustainably—without resorting to fast fashion! You can get creative and source items from second-hand stores (aka thrift shops) and vintage boutiques, or even go the extra mile with upcycling old pieces.
From timeless basics to one-of-a-kind collector’s items, you’ll be able to pick up some great finds at a fraction of their original price. Plus, you’ll be helping the environment by reducing landfill waste. What’s more sustainable than that?
What’s the benefit of vintage boutiques? Well, because these shops usually specialize in classic items that have stood the test of time and can still be fashionable today. That means you can find yourself a unique piece with lots of character—that won’t have been mass produced!
Up cycled Pieces
Have an old t-shirt that you don’t wear anymore? One call to your local tailor or seamstress and you could turn it into something entirely new. This could be anything from shorts to a skirt—just use your imagination! Not only is this longer lasting than buying something new, but it’s also a lot cheaper too! So next time before you buy fast fashion clothes, why not explore these alternatives instead? Who knows what gems you’ll find!