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Article: What's Wrong With Fast Fashion?

What's Wrong With Fast Fashion?

What's Wrong With Fast Fashion?

In a society where economic growth is prioritized above all else, the planet is often left to pay the price. Unfettered greed has led to the slow destruction of our only home. Millions of trees have been cut down, and hundreds of natural sanctuaries have been disrupted. The skies are filled with pollution and the seas are overflowing with toxic plastic and oil. Thousands of wildlife species have gone or are nearly extinct, and millions of people have been displaced from their homes due to climate change.

In this story, fashion is one of the primary villains, even though we don’t want to admit it. Behind every garment, there is a company who is exploiting our natural resources, contaminating our soil, polluting our skies and killing our biodiversity. The fashion industry is responsible for one of the largest environmental footprints, and should be held accountable for its effects on the climate crisis.

Fast fashion revolutionized the industry with its unbelievable rapid turnaround times and trend cycles. Fast fashion brands are infamous for being cheap, trendy, and easily accessible. This might seem ideal for the customer, but there is a dark side to this story.

To begin with, “clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014 and the average person buys 60% more garments, wearing them HALF as long. Nearly EVERY single element of fashion’s impact increases with more production: emissions, pollution, diversity loss and waste.” ( A New Textiles Economy, Ellen MacArthur Foundation).

In addition to volume, fast fashion is notorious for its speed which has a real human cost. When fast fashion brands speed up their production lead times and influence other brands to follow their business models for cheaper clothes and higher profits, that typically equates to garment workers and farmers forced to work longer hours with faster rates and for lower wages. Fast fashion is able to be so cheap because many workers do not receive fair wages and must endure terrible working conditions that affect their physical and mental wellbeing.

We, as consumers, rarely stop to think about the real price that we are paying, and maybe if we did, the world would be in a better place. This is not something to be upset about, but a reminder to be more mindful and intentional every time we go to buy a new outfit.

Today, the fashion industry is making changes because consumer demand is driving it. Brands are racing to make sustainability pledges and collections with recycled materials, and activist organizations are pushing for governments to formulate more policies that will regulate how brands operate and produce in a way that aligns with combatting the climate crisis and the UN SDG’s.

Source:
A New Textiles Economy, Ellen MacArthur Foundation https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/a-new-textiles-economy 

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