Fast fashion is defined as cheap trendy apparel that takes the latest catwalk trends and brings them to the broader consumer market as quickly as possible. Clothing shopping (without the promise of next day delivery) was a far more infrequent affair 20 years ago, but now buyers may buy outfits at the peak of their popularity for very little money and discard them after very little time. So let’s find out Who is at fault for fast fashion?
Indeed, there are no longer two distinct seasons in fast fashion; rather, huge retailers such as Missguided update their inventory on a weekly basis. But what happens to all the unsold clothes from the preceding week or month? According to EPA estimates, 11.9 million tons of clothing and footwear were thrown in the United States alone in 2015, with 8.2 million tons going to landfill. In contrast to natural fibers (such as cotton), synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon can take up to 200 years to degrade; these are frequently utilized by fast-fashion firms to decrease production costs. The significance of this cannot be overstated, with scientists believing that these microfibres account for over 85% of human-produced garbage found on the world’s shores.
The status of fast fashion
Fashion has become one of the world’s most polluting industries. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global CO2 emissions and consumes around 1.5 trillion litres of water each year. It is an industry that is trapped in a toxic cycle of overproduction and overconsumption, posing a massive challenge to environmental sustainability. Few can argue that something needs to be done to put a stop to, or at least slow down, the fast fashion era. And it has to happen sooner than PrettylittleThing’s current £5 nylon body-con dress.
This obligation, though, is all too often attributed to the consumer; we’re advised to boycott these fast-fashion businesses or only buy secondhand. Many individuals, I believe, began to question the true cost of their extremely inexpensive apparel around 2013, when the Rana Plaza textile manufacturing facility in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,000 employees. However, it is clear that the fast fashion industry has only grown since then, with no obvious attempts to lessen its environmental impact, as far as I can tell. Why hasn’t the world held these corporations accountable for their actions? And, on top of that, continue to blame consumers for supporting the unsustainable industry that they have created?
The number of’sustainable’ fashion firms that create their garments from recycled materials, such as TALA or Lucy and Yak, may have increased during the last decade. However, the biggest issue with these firms is the very reason they are sustainable: they use more expensive materials, pay their employees decently, and take longer to make their products. As a result, they are inaccessible to a big section of the population who do not have enough spare income to spend on a more expensive clothing. Encouragement of a boycott of fast-fashion firms should be viewed as a sign of privilege because it is not a viable alternative for many – and one that I don’t see having a large enough impact to push every fast-fashion brand out of business. We’re also sometimes recommended to shop at thrift stores or charity shops, but due to the increasing volume of clothing that many people continue to buy, these stores can become overrun with contributions and, in some circumstances, are obliged to pass on stuff they can’t sell.
Instead, fast-fashion businesses should be legally required to contribute to garment recycling programs, which attempt to minimize the large volume of clothing that ends up in trash every day in the UK by recycling all unwanted or unsold apparel. Textile recycling companies, like as Berlin-based Kleiderly, are exploring new and innovative ways to recycle garments in order to change the fashion industry into a circular and sustainable economy, and more firms should be required to utilize them. Fashion brands should engage in a “one pence per garment” charge program, as considered but never implemented by Parliament. The funds obtained would be used to expand garment collection, donation, and recycling locations.
Then, you should ask Is fashion really important?
Who is at fault for fast fashion?
Fast Fashion offers a wide range of attractive clothing at reasonable prices to today’s consumers. The means by which these companies supply such prices has been a source of contention, as fast fashion companies account for one-tenth of global carbon emissions. The majority of their manufactured goods wind up in landfills, and laborers are subjected to inhumane working conditions and are not paid a living wage. Some think that customers should be blamed for buying fast fashion, while others argue that firms and their tactics should be criticized.
The issue of fast fashion can be traced back to unethical corporate and company business practices.
The preceding reason why firms are mostly accountable for rapid fashion is that not every consumer is able to prevent it. Many people cannot afford to buy ethically manufactured clothing. To remedy this, fashion activists have encouraged people to shop at thrift stores. Although this appears to be a reasonable alternative, it excludes several other customer groups. Thrifting is not size inclusive, demands a lot of leisure time, which many working consumers don’t have, and is frequently inaccessible to disabled people.
Furthermore, consumers should not be held responsible for the immoral shortcuts that fast fashion businesses take to generate profits. Today’s consumers cannot afford new clothing that are created in a sustainable and ethical manner. As they continue to demonstrate that capital is their ultimate concern, fast fashion firms have decided to stay oblivious of the harm they cause to the environment and their workers.
Finally, the overproduction caused by fast fashion corporations is ultimately what leads to customer overconsumption. Fast fashion companies offer a wide range of items that frequently fall out of style very fast, resulting in the formation of micro-trends. Micro-trends have normalized overconsumption and increased textile waste, as clothing are now frequently discarded prematurely. The fast fashion business has managed to radically shorten trend cycles, requiring consumers to buy more in order to stay current.
If customers are to blame for the repercussions of fast fashion, the only way to put an end to it as a consumer is to create a collective boycott; however, this is not a practical solution for every consumer.
Companies and enterprises who engage in quick fashion should ultimately bear responsibility for the effects of fast fashion. The greatest method to put an end to fast fashion practices is to advocate for federal legislation to control fast fashion corporations and to consume or avoid quick fashion only if you have the resources to do so.