Even if you’re not familiar with the world of fashion, there’s a high chance that you have heard the phrase “fast fashion” bandied around. That’s because fast fashion is exactly that; it’s pretty darn fast! While decades ago men and women only had a few items of clothing in their possession, the world has now changed into one that involves an incredibly high demand for garments of all shapes and sizes.
Not only do people want new and cheap clothes, but they also want them every few weeks as the trends and styles chop and change. The fast fashion powerhouses of the world give in to these demands, and they bring out new clothes into their store every single day. Yet, what is the real impact of fast fashion on the world?
Almost everyone has given in to the fast fashion way of life at least once in their lives because there’s something so exciting about buying clothes that are shiny and new. However, when you realise that those shiny and new items of clothing have been replaced by something even shinier and newer, people often just throw their garments in the bin. While this wouldn’t seem like a big deal every so often, what happens when everyone around the world does the same thing?
Well, the landfills start to overflow. It’s been noted that consumers in the UK spend around £32.5 billion on new clothes every single year, and then we throw away an estimated £12.5 billon’s worth of clothes in that same amount of time. Because most fast fashion retailers use synthetic fabrics and fabrics that are not organic or eco-friendly, they can sit on the landfill for up to 200 years – polluting the environment and taking up valuable space in the meantime.
Unacceptable working conditions
To create new clothing that fits with the changing tides, big companies within the fast fashion world have to create their products quickly and cheaply. After all, they won’t add to their ever-increasing profit if they don’t. Because of this, they take their manufacturing business away from factories in the UK and the US and opt for cheaper alternatives in countries such as India and China.
While they get what they want thanks to the large workforces and the cheap labour, the people who spend hours making the clothes every single day get nothing close to what they should do. In fact, a study conducted in 2018 by the Fair Labour Association noted that workers in Bangladesh needed to receive a mammoth pay rise of 80% to even come close to the acceptable living wage in the area. When you think about it that way, fast fashion is denying everyday people of their right to survive and thrive.
The harsh fabrics
When you buy new clothes, do you ever think about the fabric that it’s made of? Most people don’t, and we don’t blame them for that. It’s easy to judge a book by its cover when it comes to clothes, as a large portion of people buy these items based on their look both on and off the hanger. However, what most people don’t realise about fast fashion is that the products are cheap for a reason.
That reason is that they often use harsh and unsustainable fabrics that have a negative impact on both the world around us and sometimes our own bodies. After all, who wants to wear a T-shirt made from cotton that was grown with pesticides? The fast fashion industry uses all kinds of nasty fabrics and synthetic creations, and some of these even contain plastic. Because of this, they take so much longer to decompose, and will still be around for hundreds of years even after you’ve thrown them out.
While instant gratification draws us to the world of fast fashion, you really need to ask yourself one question: Is it really all worth it? Would it be better to invest in eco-friendly alternatives within the slow fashion world? We’ve got a list of our favourite sustainable fashion brands you need to know that can help you make better decisions.