The problem with fast fashion
The fashion industry has been changing rapidly over the last few years, and it’s deliberately geared towards not only buying more but buying more often. The business model of fast fashion depends on using cheap, non-biodegradable materials and making low-cost, trendy, runway-inspired clothes on a regular basis. This means you don’t have to wait for seasonal collections like summer or winter, these chain brands stock new clothes all year round. This means that many brands introduce new styles multiple times a WEEK to keep us hooked.
This has really changed the way we shop, and get rid of the clothes we no longer wear. That’s why fashion has become the second-most polluting industry in the world, right behind oil. Polyester is the most used fabric for these clothes, which pollutes our water bodies and get ingested by fish and other wildlife.
Churning out clothes super often means compromise – that could be in terms of the materials used, using toxic dyes and also relying on labour that is very poorly compensated. We’ve all heard about the awful conditions at the sweatshops where many of these clothes are produced – the people employed have unsafe work conditions and get paid basically nothing, particularly when you look at the amount of money these brands are making through their labour.
Another thing — you know when you buy something online and then return it? A lot of the time retailers don’t bother reselling that item. It’s actually cheaper for them to send it right to a landfill rather than actually make sure its in the right condition to sell to someone else.
Many of this know this stuff, but it’s hard to change behaviors that we’re so used to. The fashion industry is changing the way we look at clothes, and how often we think we need new, unique looks to stand out. The truth is these clothes don’t last very long and we buy them knowing that, being okay with that. Trends change, and we feel pressure to keep up. But being more mindful of what we buy, why we buy it and what we’re going to do with it is important, and it gets easier once you just start thinking about it. We know, because we’re thinking about it.