Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Fast Fashion is the mass producing of fashion items as a very cheap cost. Clothing from big name brands like Shein, Zara, and Forever 21 utilize sweatshops in order to just keep producing and producing the new trends. Not only is this a dangerous and underpaid working environment, but it is detrimental toward our planet, as it contributes and aids the massive amounts of waste / carbon emissions. Essentially, fast fashion is just the mass production of clothing at a very low cost.
So, why is this SO harmful?
The term fast fashion encompasses a lot. Unfair labor laws, terrible labor conditions, way less than minimum wage pay-outs, and deadly factory atmospheres. Not to mention, this doesn't even include its massive effects on the environment. Clothing from these fast fashion companies are being produced in factories that only care about rapid production. All the money goes back into producing the newest style of clothing and minimal amounts of money goes back to the workers and the factory conditions. In 2013 a fast fashion clothing factory collapsed and killed many workers. This was the Rana Plaza Garment Factory collapse in Bangladesh. 1,134 people workers were killed and over 2000 were injured. This event highlighted what it is like in these factories. The problem is due to the rapid production, hence, these factories are not maintained. Therefore, walls are falling down, chemicals are emitted to the atmosphere, and there are literal holes in the ground and nothing is done about it. The workers are just forced to keep going. It's literal torture. 93% of brands surveyed by the fashion checker that they aren't paying workers a living wage. (according to article on goodonyou). Next time you go into Forever 21 and see that really cute sweater for $10, think about what went into make that one garment, and what torture others are suffering so you can wear that really cheap sweater.
Next let's talk about Fast Fashion and it's negative affects on the environment. First, fast fashion uses a tremendous amount of energy and water. These resources might seem easy to come by, but fast fashion uses excessive amounts of them. Next, there is a crucial emission of green house gases when it comes to fast fashion manufacturing. Green house gasses cause climate change because they trap in heat. These gasses also contribute to air pollution and respiratory disease. Lastly, fast fashion contributes massive amounts of waste to our landfills. Did you know that up to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year? The problem is, fast fashion isn't being talked about enough, because to the eye it looks like your favorite brands are making sustainable strides. However, unfortunately for many brands this is a marketing act and most likely GREENWASHING. So, what is green washing and how can you notice it?
Aside from being a marketing scheme, greenwashing is when brands claim to be sustainable, ethical, or environmentally responsible, but aren't. These brands claim to be using eco-friendly materials, but it is just a claim, and no action is made to actually use those better materials. A commonly found greenwashing tactic is when brands come out with "sustainable" lines, but are typically a fast fashion company. Greenwashing is used to convince the public that an organizations products are ethical. Unfortunately, more often than not, huge brands. Huge clothing companies tend to be greenwashing. Now that you know about greenwashing, here are some ways to notice it.
check to see if it is a "sustainable" line. This is greenwashing!! If it is a sustainable line, then they are practically telling you the other sectors of the company are not sustainable.
Read the label, check for fake icons of earth or fruit or the environment.
Look for proof of green practices. If a brand is truly sustainable, they will disclose their practices!
Check ingredients. Look for ingredients like recycled, organic cotton, made in the USA, natural dyes, and high quality construction.
Stop trusting slogans! Just because it says "all natural" does not necessarily mean it is. Make sure to look more into it!
So, now that you know the basics, we can all agree that fast fashion education needs to be more pronounced, and change must be made. Navigate to the forum and introduce yourself to the Awear community. Together we will make change. We are the future! #awareawear #alwaysbeawear