As awareness about the importance of sustainability is on the rise, one term that is being used more and
more often in relation to sustainability is “fast fashion.” If this is a new term to you, then you are not alone, and there is much to be learned about this area of sustainability.
1. Fast fashion refers to clothing manufactured for immediate sale in retail stores like Forever 21, H&M, Kohl’s, Target, Urban Outfitters, and more. These clothes are constantly being produced to keep up
with the latest fashion trends, with new styles and designs being brought out quickly, hence the name “fast fashion,” in order to keep up with supply and demand. As long as there is a desire to remain trendy, stylish, and in- season at the current rate of new fashion trends, there will be fast fashion.
2. Much of fast fashion is produced cheaply and sold for a much higher price in order to gain the most profit. It’s common sense that clothing companies need to make money; however, this becomes a problem when the manufacturing of these products takes place in factories that underpay and overwork their workers as a way to make the profit margin bigger.
3. With some exceptions, most fast fashion clothes aren’t made to last a long time. Made alongside the most current trends, once a piece of clothing is deemed out of style, the goal of fast fashion is to get you to buy new clothes to stay on top of the latest fashion trends. Since trends, by nature, come and go
relatively quickly, the quality of the clothing produced by fast fashion companies reflects that, only being made to last a few years before becoming worn out, loose, shrunken, or damaged.
4. Fast fashion is one of the main contributors of pollution, as to cut production costs further many companies opt for synthetic fabrics like polyester which are entirely made of plastic and are not very
environmentally sustainable. Fabrics like polyester are also less breathable than fabrics made from natural materials like cotton, linen, and wool, further adding to their shorter lifespan in people’s closets.
5. Though this issue surrounding fast fashion may seem overwhelming as it is so widespread throughout American culture, there are ways you can be more sustainable in your clothing choices. The most sustainable option is to wear what you have and to make it last as long as you can. Trade clothes with
friends if you’re the same size. If you want or need new clothes, look for brands that are fair trade or sustainable. These brands are more expensive, but their quality is higher. If that’s not a feasible option, thrifting or buying vintage is a great way to avoid purchasing directly from fast fashion brands as well.
It’s important to note that changes to this system aren’t going to happen overnight, but every little bit you can do to be more aware of what you buy, where you buy, and when you buy can help with the issues of justice wrapped up in fast fashion.