It is now widely acknowledged that the fashion industry has a huge role in climate change, due to its polluting activities. Of course, not all fashion companies are the same, and even if everyone in the industry could take some steps to more sustainable solutions, some companies are doing worse than others.
Fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing. Usually, sampling ideas from catwalks or celebrity culture, and turning them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand.
These businesses keep feeding a toxic cycle of overproduction and consumption, making fashion one of the greatest polluters of the world.
To join this conversation and become an aware consumer, there are some issues related to the fast fashion industry that you should know, and that will make you think twice about your next purchase.
As mentioned before, the mass production of disposable clothing is a major contributor to overall pollution. In fact, 20% of the global waste of water is produced by the fashion industry. Not to mention, 85% of all textiles end up in landfills every year, unwanted by consumers.
Materials used in fast fashion production are usually cheap and low quality. They can harm the environment and our skin as well. In fact, the majority of these fabrics come from fossil fuels. Moreover, we ought not to forget the harms and dangers of textile dyeing for the planet.
More than 80% of workers in this industry are women of color, and only a mere 2% of them earn a living wage.
Related to the previous point made, the workers from the south of the world and BIPOC areas are paying the true cost of this industry, working in inhumane conditions so that we, consumers from Western areas, can buy cool designs at cheap prices.
5. Fooling consumers
The strategy followed by the majority of fast fashion companies is called 'planned obsolescence.' This means that clothes are designed to become unfashionable soon while new items are brought to life every week, so consumers keep coming back to buy new items very often.
I am aware it is not easy to stop buying fast fashion at all, because it is cheap, it is fun, and also because sometimes it is the easiest alternative to reach when you are shopping. But easy is not always the best solution. We must remember that we are the consumers and that the fashion industry is trying to please our tastes, so we have much more power to make changes in this business than we think we have.