Fast fashion — What is it & why shouldn’t you support it?

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Image via RETHINK Retail

Maddy McFarlin, Features Co-Editor

The fast fashion industry has blown up over the years, especially with online shopping growing in popularity. These websites are known for their extremely low prices and low-quality items. Although they are cheap, they are popular because they have trendy items that are usually worn for a season. They take higher-end items and create a lower-end copy that can be worn a few times and then is usually tossed aside. This industry has huge effects on the environment, people and animals. 

 

Not only does the fast fashion industry try to get different styles of clothing out as quickly as possible, but they try to cut cost corners as much as they can. This includes using toxic dyes and cheap fabrics. The toxic dyes pollute the ocean and the cheap fabrics contribute to global warming. Polyester is one of the most popular textiles used in the fast fashion industry and is derived from fossil fuels and sheds microfibers into the ocean adding to pollution. Cotton is another textile used in the fast fashion industry which needs large amounts of water and pesticides to maintain. In addition to this, the amount of waste produced by the fast fashion industry is immense. Hundreds of millions of garments are wasted each year, growing landfills and having a negative impact on the planet. 

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Image via The Business of Fashion

The people that work in these factories have low wages, horrible working conditions and long hours. These companies use overseas factories to take advantage of minimal rights. Many women and children are working in these factories where they are getting injured, sexually harassed and worse. Over 27 million people work in this industry and make less than $3 a day. Unfortunately, this industry is constantly growing because of the people that support it. 

 

In addition to abusing people, the fast fashion industry also has an impact on animals. The toxic dyes that are released into the water and the microfibers from Polyester cause harm to ocean animals. Animal fur is also being passed off as fake and sold for a lower cost to unknowing consumers. 

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Image via Animal Activist Watch

The fast fashion industry is creating a horrible environment for people, animals and the world but there are ways to be a part of the change. Thrift stores have grown in popularity over the past few years due to their low costs and great vintage finds but they are also great for combating the fast fashion industry. By buying used, you are contributing to recycling clothes and donating your clothes to these shops instead of throwing clothes away also reduces waste. Search for more eco friendly companies to buy clothing from. There are many sustainable and ethical companies out there that you can purchase trendy clothing from. Although these clothes may be a little more pricey, focus on purchasing pieces you know you will wear for a long time and want to hold on to. 

 

The fast fashion industry is dangerous for many reasons.