What is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion is a term used to describe cheap, trendy clothes that take ideas from celebrity culture or runways and turn them into garments in stores at rapid speed. Plus, it’s horrible for the environment. Horrible. However, things weren’t always like this. People didn’t used to constantly shop like we do now; it used to be an occasional event that happened as needed. Outgrew your winter coat? Time for a new one. Clothing isn’t made to last like it used to be. Then, about 20 years ago, the shopping culture we have now made it’s introduction.
One of the impacts of fast fashion is retailers using cheap, toxic textiles dyes. This is such a huge issue because fast fashion is one of the major polluting industries. Its distribution of crops, fibers, and garments contribute to environmental pollution as well as soil, air, and water pollution. The textile industry is the second greatest polluter of local freshwater in the entire world. Polyester, a material we all recognize from the tags in our clothes, is derived from fossil fuels. This contributes to global warming and can shed microfibers that can add to the increasing levels of plastic into our oceans when put into a wash. Cotton, another material we all know, requires loads of water and pesticides in developing countries.
Unsurprisingly, fast fashion is harmful to humans– the people who work to get these garments out so quickly. They work in dangerous environments and for low wages. Not only is it hurting the people who make the clothes, but also the farmers who may be working with toxic chemicals that can have long-lasting physical and mental effects. The water pollution affects ocean life, which is already facing a thousand other threats.
The Faces of Fast Fashion
Sadly, there are too many fast fashion brands to list, so here are some of the big names we all recognize: Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters, Topshop, GUESS, Gap, Boohoo, Missguided, H&M, Zara, Adidas, ASOS, Shein, Nasty Gal, and many more.
What You can Do
I’ve very recently learned about fast fashion, and writing this post helped me fully understand its extensive impact on the planet. I was devastated to see so many stores I’ve shopped from on the list above, and while I understand I cannot singlehandedly end the plight that is fast fashion, there are steps I can take to help, and so can you.
Thrift! Shopping at thrift/second-hand stores is so fun to do with friends and it’s a great way to find cute, discounted clothes. As a college student myself, I’m always balling on a budget so I love going thrifting with my friends and a lot of my favorite pieces are from stores like Buffalo Exchange and Poshmark. Plus, if you’re going to buy animal product clothing, which is a whole other issue, thrifting is the only appropriate way to do it. It’s already been bought and sold, so this way you aren’t contributing to the killing of animals for clothing.
Buy better quality clothes. By doing this you don’t have to shop as much, and as a result you’re less supportive of fast fashion. Get a winter coat that will last longer than a single season and you won’t have to spend money on another one so soon. It’s a win-win situation!
Share clothes with friends. Sharing clothes with friends is so fun because it’s an intimate thing (I realize this sounds so weird, but to me it means you trust your friend enough to share something that’s your own with them and that’s senti). Plus, it’s like renting a new outfit! Speaking of renting, that’s something else you can do. Rent the Runway is an awesome company. I’ve used them before to rent a formal dress for an event and highly recommend. They have cute options and you won’t end up spending as much money in comparison to buying something.
In conclusion, I am very new to the concept of fast fashion. I’m not claiming to be an expert on the topic and definitely not claiming to have avoided all fast fashion brands because I certainly have not- I have a post about my favorite trends from this month and mentioned a pair of shoes I just bought from Urban Outfitters so yeah… there’s proof. I will, however, be more mindful in the future and do my best to shop from brands that are not killing the earth. I love our planet and have made life choices in the past to support the environment, so this is just another one.
I hope this has taught you something about the dangers of fast fashion and the huge impact it has on the earth and us as humans. I learned a great deal more by researching for and writing this post.
I found a good amount of my information for this post from this site, https://goodonyou.eco/ which is a world-leading source of trusted brand ratings, articles and guides on ethical and sustainable fashion. It has a lot of useful information in addition to what I included in here and I recommend looking through their site to learn more about fast fashion and sustainability.
Take care of our earth!