Unstable Patterns Of Fast Fashion: The struggle between quality and affordability.

Fast fashion is one of the easiest ways for college students to get cute, affordable clothing for cheap prices compared to name brand companies. Fast fashion, as said by Rashmila Matiti, is described as “cheaply produced and priced garments that copy the latest catwalk styles and get pumped quickly through stores in order to maximize current trends.” This may seem like a great way for college students to save money when they are already spending so much for school with textbooks, tuition and supplies, but fast fashion does more harm than good for the environment.


H&M, Zara, Shein and Forever 21 are well known fast fashion companies that many people shop at, especially college students. While the clothes may be cheap and fashionable, the way they are produced is harmful. These companies, according to the UN Environment Programme, are the second biggest water consumers and they are responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions. To put this in perspective, they produce more carbon than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. 


Ngan Lee says that “these companies use 700 gallons of water to produce one cotton shirt and 2,000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans.” They also dump the water from the textile dyeing factories into the streams and rivers leading them to pollute the water.


Not only do these companies have a negative impact on the environment, they also are made of low quality materials to make production cheaper. College students may be saving money, but the odds of these cheaply made clothes lasting a long time is slim. Since trends are constantly changing, consumers are buying more clothes than they need to “fit in”, says Lee. The clothes that go to waste are then sent to a landfill and then burned, releasing pollutants into the air. At the end of the day, these companies have unethical production practices and there are better alternatives for college students to save money by buying name brands. 


Since sales racks have such good deals, they are a great place to check out when shopping. In addition, the clearance rack is another great way to save money on clothing. Thrift stores are another way to save money and thrifting is a huge trend in the media currently which appeals to college students. If students have found themselves not wearing certain clothing items, they can sell them online to get more money to save and spend. These ideas are easier ways for college students to save money, support ethical brands and buy cute clothing. 

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