Expressed through clothing, shoewear and more, the trending aesthetics of fashion have rapidly taken a rise in popularity within our society. With brands and companies needing to meet the compelling demands from our ever-shifting society, fast fashion had quickly been introduced. Within the past twenty years, clothes have become increasingly cheaper, allowing larger audiences to replicate the much sought after celebrity fashion. By turning unimaginable designs, into physical, polyester realities lying in our closets, clothes shopping had turned from a chore, to a trend.
What is Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is used by fashion retailers to create inexpensive and trendy designs by sampling ideas from catwalks and trending cultures. This technique is used by companies in order to meet consumer demand by releasing new styles as fast as possible, encouraging consumers to shop whilst trends are still at their peak popularity whilst items are often discarded after worn, soon after trends fall.
Fast fashion allows shoppers of all kinds to enjoy trends and designs at an affordable price. Companies such as internationally known H&M and TopShop earn millions off their low quality/high quantity rate of production. With brands such as Zara releasing 24 collections a year, the fashion industry never fails to meet the desires of consumers. They knowingly feed off of the everchanging short term trends of flared jeans, or baguette purses, whilst consumers go fanatic over low quality materialism, due to the even lower cost.
Fast Fashion and it's Environmental Toll
Despite all the benefits of affordability and efficiency contributing to our clothes shopping experiences, Fast Fashion costs our environment an undeniably large toll.
Business Insider states that fast fashion contributes to up to 10% of global carbon emissions, as well as causing other harmful effects to the environment with other detrimental factors such as polluting seas.
Alongside this, fast fashion uses excessive amounts of water and energy. Taking up to 400 gallons of water to grow cotton for a single shirt, the fashion industry is lamentably the second largest consumer of water. The Quantis International Report (2018) have placed emphasis on the three cycles used by apparel and footwear industries of dyeing and finishing, yarn preparation and fibre production, making up to 79% of their waste towards global pollution - textile dyeing being the second largest water polluter due to leftover waste being dumped straight after.
It is undeniable that these processes are detrimental towards our environment, with the industry's ways of energy intensive use of fossil fuel reliant processes, inarguably impacting the earth's climate change per piece of clothing produced. With 85% of apparel contributing towards waste and landfills each year, the process of production and consumer consumption acts as a main, never ending process of environmental harm.
Ways to fight Fast Fashion
Less is more
The UN views fashion to be the second largest contributing industry towards pollution. However, alongside fashion companies appalling production, reaching this rate of production would only be possible due to consumer consumption towards these brands. Consumers can choose to buy less clothing such as selecting basic, reusable pieces, rather than short-period trends in order to avoid rapid disposable of clothing, as well as saving money long term.
Buying materials that are less damaging to the environment
Avoiding materials such as jeans which require 18,00 gallons of water towards cotton production for a single pair can help avoid fashion companies unsaid needs to meet consumer demands, as well as avoiding possible future disposal. Instead, consumers can opt for natural fabrics such as linen (made from plants) or tencel (wood pulp) rather than man made materials such as polyester, which take hundreds of years to biodegrade.
Shop alternative brands to fast fashion
In order to avoid consumption in the Fast Fashion industry, consumers may choose fair trade and ethical clothing brands. By choosing brands such as patagonia, and adopting the use of recycled materials consumers can choose to support and act as a defender of environmental ethics in the fashion industry,
Shop vintage, charity shops or thrifting
By recycling previously loved, secondhand clothing instead of buying brand new, consumers can help reduce the waste of clothing disposal. Introducing these ways of shopping into your daily lives as a consumer can help the environment as we live out the 'reduce, reuse, recycle' motto.
Swapping, or donating clothing instead of immediate disposal
Instead of disposing clothing immediately, choose to donate clothing to charities such as the Salvation Army Clothing Donations, or local clothing recycling bins. Rather than contributing towards disposal and global waste, consumers can help supply clothing towards those in need, or continue the process of rewearing.