There are some shocking statistics about the fashion industry. It is the second most polluting industry in the world. Over-production, globalisation, exploitation and large consumption of fossil-fuels. Couture fashion has 2 seasons a year (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter), fast fashion has 52! 52 micro-seasons a year, constantly churning out new product lines at an unsustainable rate. It promotes this throw-away culture that new is better, especially when their garments are usually poor quality.
Fast fashion is an environmental issue: large volumes of clothing made mostly from new polyester which is essentially plastic. Plastic comes from fossil fuels. Acid rinses and harmful chemicals in dyes polluting factory-side landscapes. “Acid wash jeans” are exactly what they say on the tin… washed in acid!
Fast fashion is a women’s issue: the majority of garment workers in the fast fashion are women – around 70-80%. When clothing is so cheap, someone is paying…. and you can bet it isn’t the brand! You only need to look at the #Payup movement during the pandemic where fashion brands weren’t paying their suppliers for product produced because the retail outlets were closed. Even in the best of times, many garment workers suffer poor working conditions, low pay and little job security.
Fast fashion is a political issue: globally, there’s a huge lack of regulations on textiles and garment industries. For example, lack of regulations on waste management (and political will to put them in place) allows defective or unsold stock to be incinerated rather than recycled.
For most consumers, including myself once, it is “out of sight, out of mind”. I had never previously thought much about what was involved in the entire process. Many of the fast fashion brands legitamise the process and gloss over the truth. If you want to find out more, head over to Fashion Revolution: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/