What’s wrong with fast fashion and how we can shop better‼
Fast fashion is a business model that aims to make low cost items in massive quantities, profiting off of quantity not quality. The clothes made by fast fashion brands are low quality and have a very short lifespan. The low prices and constant advertising pressure leads to overconsumption, with many clothes bought on impulse. As well as promoting a consumerist attitude, fast fashion is very polluting and exploitative.
Production is off-shored to countries in the global south because of cheaper and less regulated labour. Human rights violations are common and especially affect women who make up 80% of garment workers and are often victims of abuse and harassment in garment factories. Fast fashion brands take part in a race to the bottom where suppliers are pressured to produce as much as possible, as fast as possible and as cheap as possible and while doing so, they earn poverty wages and work in unsafe conditions.
Environmentally, fast fashion is devastating. It uses huge amounts of water and large amounts of chemicals to dye and finish garments, which are often released into rivers, untreated. In China they say “you can tell the colour of the season by looking at the colour of the river”. Synthetics (which make up 60% of our clothes) are especially polluting as they’re a product of the petrochemical industry and when washed they shed microplastic fibres which end up in oceans. The environmental impacts of the fashion industry are huge and unsustainable.
If you don’t want to contribute to such negative impacts, I’ll give you a few tips that helped me buy less fast fashion. Removing temptation is a first step, unfollowing and unsubscribing from fast fashion brands. Before going shopping, declutter your wardrobe so you know what you really need. When you’re in shops, learn to just browse, appreciate looking at clothes without the need to buy something, it’s okay to leave empty handed, make sure that you really love what you buy rather than purchasing trendy items that will date quickly. Choose secondhand first and remember that how you buy is more important than what you buy, you shouldn’t deprive yourself of anything!