Fast fashion is an unsustainable industry because more and more products are being produced when there is no need for more. It is the practice many companies take part in of producing a mass amount of collections throughout the year, so that consumers will buy a lot of clothes to keep up with certain trends.
With a surplus of clothes, fast fashion results in tons of textiles in the landfills every year when they are still good to wear: “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded.” That’s over the weight of two million elephants! The clothes go to landfills because some people throw their old clothes away rather than donating them.
People should stop supporting fast fashion because the industry is not beneficial to the workers, the consumer, or the environment. Everyone loves a $20 dress at Forever 21, but you’ll probably only wear it once and then give it away. What’s the point? Why not make a more sustainable, cost friendly, and ethical purchase?
In order to combat fast fashion, people need to become more aware of the products they are buying. The main way you can do this is to shop secondhand. For some reason or another, some people don’t like secondhand stores. They think the clothes are old, dirty and gross, but come on! If you think this way, then why not spend your money on higher-quality clothing that is classic enough not to go out of style in a month? When you go out to shop, ask yourself: Will this last? Will this stay in style for a long period of time? Is this made out of sustainable materials? Will I enjoy wearing this for years? If the answer’s no, it’s a no-go.
Another good reason to not purchase clothing from unethical stores is because the workers that produce fast fashion are not treated with much respect because the focus is on how fast they can produce clothing rather than on safety precautions. They also are given unfair wages. In Bangladesh, the factory workers are paid a minimum wage of $37 a month or $1.21 a day, so if they worked a 14 hour shift during the peak production periods, that would be $0.09 an hour. How would one survive this way?
The way to really make an impact is to spread the word. Tell everyone you know about fast fashion. Let them know that there are millions of clothes in landfills. Really think about how many clothes have been produced on this earth and how much are produced everyday.
Where do the clothes go? This impact will improve the environment, the lives of the workers producing the clothes in unfair work conditions, and the spending habits of the consumers. Sounds like a win-win-win to me. So next time one of your friends wants to go on a shopping spree, encourage them to go to a thrift store and see what unique clothes you can find.