We’ve heard the saying that fast fashion is harmful to our planet.
How clothing can possibly affect the environment...?
Well as it turns out, in more ways than you might think.
The problem with fast-fashion is that it causes overproduction. Unfortunately, overproduction of clothing is a major source of the greenhouse gasses that are currently overheating our planet. This is an industry that profits off of the idea of trends, cheap material, and low prices.
On a consumer level, fast-fashion has made it incredibly easy to find designer knock-offs at an affordable price. This meant that essentially everyone had access to looking expensive, even if they paid less than $50 for their entire outfit. However, fast-fashion comes at a high environmental and social cost.
What are the environmental costs?Overproduction
The demands of fast-fashion create a dilemma which asks consumers to choose between affordable clothing and the planet- Ideally, we’d hope that everyone would choose the planet.
Everyone is guilty of underestimating the power of their actions. When millions of people continue to buy new clothes each week, individual actions start to add up.
Fast-fashion companies will continue to produce based on market demands. Cheap fabric allows brands to keep their prices low, but it also is more susceptible to rips, holes, and tears causing the consumer to go through clothes more often, while slowly killing the planet. Produce, purchase, rip, repurchase, and the cycle continues.
The fast-fashion industry averages at around 1 billion garments produced annually. Where do all the discarded garments end up? Landfills. According to BBC news, three in five garments end up in a landfill by the end of the year. Fast-fashion profits off of continuous purchasing habits, trends, and new styles that people are blindly throwing their clothes away without realizing the costs.
What are the social costs?
Around 95% of American clothing is produced overseas in developing countries. Where workers are likely to have zero rights, unhealthy working conditions, and being paid unlivable low wages all at the price of our fashion demands. A large portion of the garment industry overseas are women and children who commonly face mental, physical, and sexual abuse.
...Even though buying from fast-fashion brands can seem like no big deal, all of our individual decisions truly matter. The cost of a Forever 21 sweater may be cheaper in comparison to designer, but the true environmental and social cost prove to be significantly higher in the end.