Fast fashion should not be supported in any means

H&M is a very popular brand that uses fast fashion

Photo Credit: Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License

H&M is a very popular brand that uses fast fashion

By: Jada Davis, Senior Art & Music Editor

Within the 21st century, fast fashion has become a worldwide sensation. Many popular stores manufacture their clothes within the whelms of quick fashion. The definition of fast fashion is clothes that are put out quickly to fit within certain trends. Some stores that use this practice include Forever 21, H&M, Zara and Gap. These clothes tend to be sold at lower prices.

In theory, fast fashion sounds like a genius tool to fit the needs of consumers for a cheap price. However, there are many issues with this practice which need to be discussed.

Sweatshop labor

Trends are constantly changing, which means that companies have to keep up somehow. Most companies that specialize in fast fashion are guilty of using sweatshops that treat their workers as if they were slaves. Sweatshops exist worldwide, however, they typically are located in third world countries. 

In these third world countries, sweatshops can get away with using non ethical practices. Most workers in sweatshops are typically female. Females cannot go on maternity leave when bearing children. Additionally, workers of every gender lack any other benefits. However, the conditions these workers are way worse than this. Workers do not receive insurance and are typically underpaid for their services. Underage children continuously work within the fast fashion industry. It’s also worth noting that these sweatshop locations are quite literally hot and infested with vermin. Fast fashion is anything less than ethic towards their workers due to these conditions. Clearly, fast fashion is an ethical issue.

Environmental issues

These are not the only problem with fast fashion. There is a bigger issue with the production of this industry that is often overlooked. Fast fashion is destroying the environment.

The fashion industry is the second largest producer of pollution of clean water on Earth. The concept of fast fashion being produced to fit trends means that items and styles are constantly coming and going. These clothes are meant to be sold for short periods of time. Items end up becoming overproduced, and the quality of these items aren’t sustainable. This means that clothing often ends up in landfills since they are disposable. Fashion is responsible for 92 million tons of solid waste found in these landfills every year.

There are many harmful ingredients that go into making clothing items. One example is textile dyeing, a way fast fashion clothing items achieve such vibrant colors. Some countries banned these practices. But, these laws are still easily broken and is used to produce so many clothing items. Third world countries often get away with not regulating the ingredients used in their factories. There are many other unethical ingredients such as oil based polyester, which is ruining the Earth’s water streams.

How to not support fast fashion

While fast fashion is a global crisis, there are ways for individuals to be apart of the solution.

One issue with fast fashion involved how cheaply made these clothing items are. It’s not uncommon for shirts from retail stores such as H&M and Forever 21 to fall apart after one wash. It would make more sense to spend a little extra money to buy clothes that don’t fall apart at the hems.

Another solution to stop supporting fast fashion is buying second hand clothing. A lot of people buy from these fast fashion brands in the first place because of the low prices. Thrifted clothing is usually cheaper than your average mall store, and consumers are not directly supporting quick fashion companies. These stores are located all over in the world, and apps such as Depop also sell second hand clothing online.

A vital part of determining what clothing companies are ethical have to be done throughout individual research. A lot of people aren’t aware of where their clothing is coming from, which is the biggest issue of them all.