Fast fashion: A Need for Speed
Fast fashion is a segment of the textiles industry which aims to produce your newest lewk ASAP and keep you coming back for more. It’s hard to ignore the growing pressure in the age of ‘grammable moments to not head out to find the perfect outfit for each new occasion. We’ve all found our new favorite dress/jeans/shirt at Forever21 or shoes we’ll love forever at Zara. Micro-closets are a cute thing to pin, but who’s really participating in that trend?
So what’s the issue with this fast fashion trend?
Finding a perfect outfit, getting excited to wear it, and feeling great when you’re out in the look are all wonderful feelings. Most of us are working on a budget so to find something that looks great for a price we can afford is so satisfying. However, like all seemingly innocuous things in life, there’s a dirty underground of information on the likes of H&M, forever21, and Gap’s clothing production. You aren’t dumb. You knew the perfect dress at the perfect price comes at a cost somewhere along the line. You don’t need me to tell you your new look for $19.80 was almost assuredly produced in a sweatshop which dumped that vibrant pink color into the local river. Then just as quickly as we fell in love with an item, a new look comes along to replace it, often turning that perfect outfit into waste, 75% of which ends up in landfills.
But let’s be real, you as the consumer are not the one to blame. So much is asked of us as consumer these days it is impossible to be woke in all regards. The fast fashion industry is highly motivated to keep you addicted to your affordable clothing. They want you to feel the pressure to stay on-trend. Because this behavior turns into CASH MONEY, $3.9 BILLION in profits for Zara in 2018 (CNBC, 2019) alone. Billion with a B. Let that sink in. They could probably afford to at least be more environmentally conscious and pay their workers $60/month—that’s the living wage in Bangladesh, just $60/month.
Truth: We’re not going to stop feeling the pressure to be appropriately attired in all walks of life. We’re not going to be able to afford to only shop at conscious retailers. We’re not going to stop loving that feeling of a new outfit that looks great. And we’re definitely not going to have to time to research clothing recycling facilities and drive our unwanted clothes there to be turned into insulation.