I love fashion and also "fast fashion"
What is fast fashion, and what are the main characteristics and consequences for people and the planet.
I like to look pretty, I like clothes, the styles that I like the most are boho chic and sportswear, functional clothes that I can wear with various styles.
Little by little I have been filling my closet with beautiful clothes, which I like, but new styles come out every week, and I feel that I cannot continue with that system. I do not have the financial means to buy clothes every week and another because I do not need so many clothes.
A few years ago, I read a couple of news stories on Facebook that struck me. The first of these said: that a woman had found the word “help” on the label of a clothing, at that moment I realized that there was something that was not working well. I don't know if before or after this event, the second piece of news appeared: a factory in Bangladesh had collapsed, burying approximately 1000 people inside.
“Then in 2013, the world had a reality check when the Rana Plaza
clothing manufacturing complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,000
workers. That’s when consumers really started questioning fast fashion and
wondering at the true cost of those $5 t-shirts”.(Rauturier, S. 2021)
I always like to read the clothing labels, there it specifies the material that has been used, the care that must be taken and where it has been manufactured and even sometimes where it has been designed for example (NIKE brand Leggings designed in the USA , produced in Vietnam), the vast majority of clothes come from Asian countries, especially China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, etc.
I wonder why the big brands that have spread throughout the world thanks to globalization decide to produce in Asia, rather than in their countries of origin. This shocked me a lot, and I decided to search for information about it, and what I found was not very pleasant.
I realized that the fashion industry works with a model called Fast Fashion, where everything is fast:
Fast fashion is ‘fast’ in a number of senses: the changes in fashion are fast, the rate of production is fast; the customer's decision to purchase is fast; delivery is fast; and garments are worn fast - usually only a few times before being discarded (Standoy, A.2021).
Fast fashion corporations spit new collections on sales floors almost every week, and less than one percent of all clothing materials are recycled into new garments.
The endless creation of new clothes comes with a heavy environmental price. Every year the sector requires 93 billion cubic meters of water. There are also numerous problems with the materials and processes used.The industry also has a heavy carbon footprint, which is responsible for up to 10% of total global carbon emissions, and estimated to increase by 50% by 2030 (Standoy, A.2021).
The main characteristics of fast fashion are:
- Thousands of styles, which touch on all the latest trends.
- Extremely short turnaround time between when a trend or garment is seen on the catwalk or in celebrity media and when it hits the shelves.
- Offshore manufacturing where labour is the cheapest, with the use of workers on low wages without adequate rights or safety and complex supply chains with poor visibility beyond the first tier.
- A limited quantity of a particular garment, this is an idea pioneered by Zara. With new stock arriving in store every few days, shoppers know if they don’t buy something they like, they’ll probably miss their chance.
- Cheap, low quality materials like polyester, causing clothes to degrade after just a few wears and get thrown away.
It is a millionaire business and at the same time unsustainable, it is bringing with it great consequences for the environment and for the people of impoverished countries, where apart from using cheap labor, they are taking much of the discarded clothes in rich countries like Germany back there, to sell it again or simply not recycle, leaving it to contaminate.
There are different alternatives to fast fashion, such as second-hand stores, bartering, passing clothes from generation to generation, purchases from local producers, etc. But there is a new form of production called slow fashion, (I will talk about it in more detail in my next report). Let's stop consuming so much and become responsible consumers.
What is fast fashion and why is it a problem? | Ethical Consumer
What Does Fast Fashion Mean, Anyway? (thegoodtrade.com)
¿Qué es el 'fast fashion' y por qué está haciendo de la moda un negocio insostenible? (contreebute.com)
What Is Fast Fashion? - Good On You
Fast fashion: de tu armario al vertedero - Greenpeace México
¿Cuánta agua llevas puesta? - YouTube
La ropa que llevamos | DW Documental - YouTube
La dura INDUSTRIA TEXTIL en Bangladesh - YouTube