If you had asked me this question a couple of months ago I wouldn’t have been able to give you a definitive answer. This is mostly because I didn’t know there were other options to purchasing clothing outside of the typical stores you can find in any mall. But over the past year I’ve begun to develop a gradual understanding of what the fashion industry is like and the truth beneath it all.
So, here’s a simple definition of fast fashion: Its trendy, low-cost clothing.
If you look back a couple of decades ago fast fashion wasn’t really that relevant. Now stores like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara are dominating the retail world.
Fast fashion has revolutionized how we shop, and instead of having four fashion seasons, we now have 52 seasons. That’s means new designs, trends and styles every week. Fast fashion retailers make you feel like what you already have is not good enough. They exploit you and make you feel inadequate, convincing you to shop more frequently and live in excess. The clothing is cheaply made because the bottom line isn’t quality, rather the need to get consumers into their stores again as fast as possible.
So why is fast fashion bad?
It’s built upon the quick turnover of clothing, which is socially and environmentally destructive. Fast fashion is one of largest pollution sources in the world. It also thrives off cheap labor and unethical treatment of its workers. Fast fashion is cheap to buy, but poor quality and disposable. Most of the clothing is designed to have a short life-span so you are more likely to throw it away and buy more new clothing.
What can you do to change this?
Become a conscious consumer. Know where your clothes are coming from, who is making them and what the true cost of the clothing is. Shop from sustainable and ethical clothing lines. You can also thrift shop and recycle/up-cycle your clothes.
Fashion has basically become our second skin. We used it as a means of self-expression and a way to showcase our creativity. It’s something that is ingrained in our daily lives and that’s why it is even more important to be mindful of our shopping habits. So start contributing to the change now.