The Damaging Effects of Fast Fashion

Updated: Mar 28, 2019

I recently read an article in the March edition of Woman’s Day explaining the negative environmental impact of fast fashion manufacturing. Because their goal is quickly bringing runway styles on the cheap to the consumer, they must rely on chemicals and genetically modified cotton to keep the flow of merchandise constant. They also require great amounts of energy to continually move the goods around the globe, including the US. They don’t even discuss what the working conditions are like in the factories where the clothing is being churned out, cheaply, quickly and without concern for the bigger picture. Do they care for the workers? What do you think?

Cheap clothing prices have contributed to a modern-day attitude of clothing being disposable and data backs that up with a 400% increase in textile consumption over the past 20 years. According to the article, “the average woman throws away 82 pounds of clothing each year. Overall, one garbage truck’s worth of textiles is dumped or incinerated every second” and that’s nothing to be proud of. Fast fashion brands are entering the marketplace in droves to take advantage of this shameful trend.

The excessiveness of the entire fast fashion industry is sickening, both morally and physically. People get sick from chemicals often used in textile manufacturing and from cotton treated with pesticides. Cheap, non-organic cotton is loaded with pesticides. Organically grown cotton is not but comes with a higher price tag to the manufacturers. How can you make cheap fashion from organic and environmentally conscious processes? The answer? You can’t. It’s one or the other for now.

The good news is that consumers, like you, are demanding change and companies known for fast fashion brands are working toward positive change. Initiatives such as using all organic cotton by 2020 or 2025 are being adopted by companies including H&M and ZARA. Long time eco-friendly brands such as North Face and Patagonia set the bar high and continually edge it up because they believe in sustainability. Major brands such as Adidas and Levi’s, not known as fast fashion but not known as environmentally-conscious either, are jumping on the bandwagon and developing their own goals to produce garments more responsibly.

The article goes on to encourage consumers to buy quality clothing made from organic materials from brands who care, to buy less, and to use clothing swaps, consignment shops and thrift stores when shopping for or ridding of clothing items. Buying a higher quality, well made garment from an environmentally-conscious brand at a second-hand shop is a great way to show your support and save money!

For more information click on this link below or just google "fast fashion".

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