Image by Emily Orpin via Flickr
What is fast fashion?
Fashion has become more and more relevant in society since the 19th century. Fashion is both an artistic and consumer-based industry that allows people to express themselves in a unique way. The industry is driven by celebrities, entertainment and, most importantly, trends. Trends change each season and can be very unpredictable.
Because styles fade away so quickly, many people choose to purchase trendy clothing on fast fashion websites. Fast fashion describes the phenomenon where companies choose to produce trendy clothing for very low prices. Many popular brands are fast fashion companies, such as Urban Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret. These low prices seem great for both producers and consumers alike, but there are hidden costs that counteract the positives.
The costs of fast fashion
The following are just a couple of the reasons why fast fashion should be counteracted as much as possible.
1. Unfair labor
The garments that people use for fast fashion are often produced in countries overseas and in environments that do not provide ethical working conditions. Workers work for hours on end with almost no benefits. Many are also underage and are being exploited for the sole benefit of large companies. It is very well-known that these workers are treated poorly, but people continue to purchase from these websites due to their convenience.
2. Environmental degradation and waste
The chemicals used in fast-fashion textiles emit many harmful gases, and the excess waste from production is thrown into landfills to accumulate. The process of making fast fashion also depletes many resources, such as water. Further, the large amount of transportation needed contributes to the ever-growing amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
While fast fashion will unfortunately continue, there are plenty of ways to reduce your own contribution to the unethical and environmentally degrading issue.
1. Shop from sustainable brands
There are plenty of brands to shop from that do not contribute to unethical labor or production processes. Many of these brands have originated in Los Angeles; for example. the brand Reformation creates beautiful, timeless garments for women. While brands such as Reformation are on the more expensive side, there are also more affordable options from brands such as For Days, which has perfected sustainable wardrobe staples for both men and women.
Thrift stores have much more clothes than they are able to sell. By thrifting, you can give a home to someone’s donated item, recycling clothes rather than contributing to the production of new garments. Not only does thrifting contribute to more sustainable fashion, but it creates a wardrobe that is one of a kind, as many thrifted pieces are vintage or unique. There are also plenty of ways to thrift; outside of the traditional thrift store, you can also join the online thrifting community through websites such as Depop and Poshmark. These websites contain a variety of different price points, which makes being sustainable very approachable.
Fashion will continue to be something that people partake in. It is up to each person to decide whether they would like to contribute to fast fashion or make a sustained effort to engage in alternative shopping practices.