The technological marvels of the past century have given us access to goods and services that previous generations could only dream of. But this newfound convenience has come at a considerable cost, and often, it’s the environment that pays.
Fast fashion is one of such industries that have taken advantage of the rapid production enabled by technology, along with cheap manual labor in developing countries. It is a business model that advocates for the quick production and release of new fashion trends at an extremely low cost. This allows brands to produce trendy, affordable garments and sell them to consumers at a fraction of the price it would otherwise take to make them.
As such, the fast fashion industry generates a massive amount of revenue and profits, but with that comes some serious consequences. Below, you will find six reasons you should consider quitting fast fashion for good.
The clothes produced by fast fashion brands are often of low quality, and as such, they don’t last very long. This means that you’ll end up spending more money in the long run, having to replace your garments more often. In contrast, investing in higher quality clothes may cost more upfront, but they will last you much longer, ultimately saving you money.
Before purchasing anything, try calculating the so-called cost per wear, and you’ll quickly see that fast fashion is nost cost-effective. So, whether you’re saving for a wedding or a trip around the world, there are many other ways to do so.
This is one of the main reasons people choose to quit fast fashion. Many entrepreneurs cooperating with large fast fashion brands in countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam claim that they are helping to develop these countries’ economies. However, the working conditions in these factories are often way below minimum standards, and workers are paid extremely low wages.
The Dhaka garment factory collapse of 2013 put a spotlight on the working conditions of workers in Bangladesh. Since then, however, many factory disasters have continued to occur, and working conditions have remained poor. The disaster revealed that such buildings are not designed to support large-scale garment production and that the safety measures are often inadequate.
The textile industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, making it one of the most polluting industries on the planet. The growing demand for fast fashion has resulted in an increase in the demand for water, energy, and other resources required to produce clothing. To make matters worse, most of these clothes are typically discarded after being worn only a few times.
In addition, many fast fashion brands use synthetic materials in their garments, which are made from many different types of petroleum-based chemicals. These materials often release microfibers that pollute marine ecosystems and harm wildlife. Microplastics can also enter the food chain and eventually end up on our dinner plates.
Fast fashion is a very unsustainable industry. First, the trends are always changing, so the clothes produced today will likely be outdated in a few months. This means that if you want to keep up with the trends, you will need to keep buying new clothes; otherwise, you’ll be considered outdated.
Secondly, even if you decide to wear such clothes after the trends have ended, they won’t last for long – there’s quite an apparent reason why. The companies want to minimize their costs, which means that the materials used are of lower quality and not durable. Think about materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic, which sometimes make up as much as 80% or even 100% of a garment. Needless to say, wearing them for more than a season is often impossible.
Greenwashing is a marketing strategy companies use to make consumers believe they are environmentally friendly. It is regularly used by companies in the textile industry to make consumers believe that their products are made out of recycled and otherwise sustainable sources. Brands like H&M or Zara have started separate product lines to promote the idea of sustainability.
However, these products do not make up for more than just a small percentage of the brands’ overall sales, which can be seen as an indication that their sustainable efforts are only skin-deep. The textiles used in other products of these brands rarely can be traced, as the law requires them only to put information about the place of manufacture on the label. Thus, it is difficult to check whether the materials used are, in fact, sustainable.
As mentioned above, fast fashion is focused on minimizing the costs, and it shows in the final prices of mass-produced garments. If you compare them to other, higher-quality brands, the price difference is typically considerable. This makes many people prone to getting the cheaper alternatives – a $5 T-shirt sounds like a better deal than a $50 one, especially if it features a logo of your favorite TV show.
What’s worse, this trend can also be observed among the big names in the fashion industry. Brands like Gucci have started to produce cheaper clothing lines that are easier to access to a wider audience. This means that now you can get yourself an item with a prestigious brand’s logo without having to spend thousands of dollars. The only downside is that the item will most probably be of worse quality than those of similarly-priced sustainable brands without a trendy marking.
Sometimes you hear older people talking about how they used to buy one pair of jeans and wear it for years. At first, it may sound like an exaggeration, but there may be some truth to it. The clothing industry back then wasn’t that much focused on trends – the clothes were made to last. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore.
The current state of the fashion industry is worrisome. Ever-changing trends, low-quality garments, and unethical practices have become the norm. By quitting fast fashion, you can do something good for the environment, support sustainable brands, and explore less-known manufacturers of quality clothing. So next time you’re in a store, and you see an item of clothing you like, think twice before buying it.