Why fast fashion is flawed

A look into why fast fashion is bad for the environment


Photo courtesy via PixlePool

Prinaè Pillay, Author

Since the 20th century, fast fashion has been a growing trend. Fast fashion has grown into a vast industry with stores ranging from Victoria’s Secret to Walmart. The fast fashion industry is a way to produce the same clothes but at a lower quality. Despite how efficient it is, it is said to be one of the most polluting industries.   

According to an article from goodtrade.com, fast fashion was a term created by fashion retailers to describe inexpensive trends that move straight from the catwalk to the stores.  Fast fashion brands take the same designs from the fashion designers and use cheaper textiles and dyes to produce them quicker and at a lower cost. It gained popularity from consumers for its cheaper prices resulting in more brands contributing to the industry. Some of these brands consist of Zara, Forever 21, Hollister, Nike, H&M, Shein, AliExpress, Zaful, GAP, and Brandy Melville. 

Fast fashion dominates almost every store online and in shopping malls. According to bwss.org, it is said to be a $2.5 trillion sector that is the second most polluting industry on Earth, behind oil. It uses inexpensive and toxic materials, to produce its clothing at a faster production rate, that in turn end up in landfills where it will only begin to break down after 80 years. Battlefield sophomore, Anika Lamba stated, “I do not support it because of the environmental effects and I just generally try to avoid shopping places that use fast fashion.” According to the previous article, the fashion industry emits 10% of the worlds emissions and takes over 700 gallons of water to make a single cotton shirt, which all in all further contributes to rising environmental issues. 

Despite its negative contributions millions of people of continue to buy into this industry. Olivia Gecseg who is the founder of a sustainable fashion business called Offset Warehouse says, “I would go as far to call Fast Fashion an addiction – it is an inherent problem in our society and shapes the way most people in the Western world shop. Despite people knowing the negative consequences of buying cheap comments they will continue to do so as long as they are widely available. What we can do is continue to spread awareness of the ashes fast fashion industry cause.” The fast fashion industry markets its clothes as affordable and stylish to entice consumers. Due to this type of marketing, people think they are harmlessly buying another item to add to their wardrobe without knowing they environmental harm it causes.   

However, there is a lot of fast fashion alternatives. These alternatives can be found in sustainable fashion stores. These stores are better for the environment as their clothing is made out of cotton and do not use as much water for during production. Most of these brands even sell their clothes at a reasonable price. Battlefield senior, Talia Khan says, Brands that I know that are considered environment friendly are Pact, United by Blue and People Tree.” Some other environmentally friendly brands include Everlane, Alternative Apparel, Levi’s, Rent the Runway and Reformation. Most of these brands are not widely known but can be found in stores and online. 

Fast fashion is a growing industry in which 62 million tons of clothing are being consumed worldwide each year. This figure is only expected to increase by 63% by 2030 to 102 million tons. However, as of recent brands are coming out with alternative means of sustainable clothing which are much better for environmental welfare.