Fast fashion is defined as cheap clothing mass-produced to fit the latest trends, and it is an unsustainable practice rooted in capitalistic values.
Fast fashion represents pure capitalism: a group of competitive markets producing an unfathomable amount of trendy clothes in the tiniest time frame; to get these clothes out fast, these private companies are not concerned with damaging the earth, and their actions often harm humans.
Hazardous environmental effects are contributing to the downfall of the planet. Due to the overproduction of clothing, as the supply and demand are unknown for each dying trend, there is enormous waste in this industry.
“The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second,” Business Insider states.
The transportation of clothing across the globe causes increased carbon emissions which contribute to climate change. Research from McKinsey and Company, an organization that helps companies to thrive in the ever-changing world, has provided projected data of fashion statistics. If emerging markets reach Western per capita consumption levels, environmental damage will increase by 80 percent. From 2015 to 2025, CO2 emissions will increase by over 77 percent. Water use is projected to increase over 20 percent and land use over seven percent.
Other effects of the fast fashion industry include how the workers are treated. From being underpayment to safety hazards, fast fashion does not prioritize human life overproduction. One company that is negligent of its workers is Nike.
“In 2017, the International Rights Labor Forum reported that Nike has turned its back on its commitment to the Workers Rights Consortium, which effectively blocks labor rights experts from independently monitoring Nike’s supplier factories,” Lara Robertson, a writer at Good on You, explains.
This blockage allows Nike to unfairly treat workers without repercussions. Nike received a 36 out of 100 on the 2017 Fashion Transparency Index. This means that they do not make information public about workers’ rights and environmental impact.
A survey was taken of students at Lambert. The question posed was “Do you shop at sustainable thrift stores or fashion store chains most of the time?” Out of the thirty students asked, twenty said store chains, while only ten said thrift stores.
There are companies that people should not shop at. The Well Essentials, a fashion blog aiming to connect people with their personal impacts, gave a list of fashion brands that contribute to excessive waste, harm the environment, and have bad working conditions. This list includes H&M, Gap, Old Navy, Shein, Romwe, Zara, Forever 21, Missguided, Anthropologie, and Free People. These companies are making more eco-conscious decisions but still have a long time until sustainability. Some companies you can buy from that recycle clothes from or have ethical methods are Patagonia, Depop, Goodwill (any thrift store), and thredUP!