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Why is Fast Fashion bad?

You may have heard a lot of debates about fast fashion and its harmful effects on the natural environment. Wondering why is fast fashion bad and how is it impacting the world around us? We’ll try to answer all the relevant and frequently asked questions about fast fashion in this article, so make sure to read it till the end.

What Is Fast Fashion?

Fashion trends that are proposed by the world of fashion models and catwalks spread like a wildfire. Businesses belonging to clothing and textile industries in many different parts of the world are engaged in the mass production of clothing items to replicate the newest fashion trends. The entire process of textile production, specifically based on artificial and synthetic materials, usually requires a lot of energy and different types of resources. In a nutshell, the fast fashion industry is based on brands that are cheap and sell trendy clothing in bulk quantities to meet the demand of their customers. 

The fast fashion industry is spread across the world and operates at different levels to cater to a wide range of customers. There may be very high-end fast fashion brands as well as low-budget businesses, making similar products with lower-quality materials.

As the name suggests, the core objective behind fast fashion is to bring the newest style and fashion trends to the market for customers as quickly as possible. This often leads to overproduction and increased wastage of materials as well as the exploitation of labor resources.

It has become a common trend for many different fash fashion brands around the world to hire low-cost labor in offshore countries, especially where charges and wages are the lowest. Due to the complex supply chain systems, most of these companies easily get away without tending to the very basic needs of people. With low labor costs and a near-to-zero employee care policy, the fash fashion industry has found many ways to maximize its profit.

Brands Known for Fast Fashion

Some of the most prominent players in the world of fast fashion that enjoy international fame are Zara, H&M Group, GAP, UNIQLO, Forever 21, Topshop, Esprit, Fashion Nova, Primark, New Look, and Mango among other brands. 

Most of the aforementioned companies look after many different operations of their clothing business. They can be both retailers and manufacturers. However, as discussed, they often outsource the actual production process of clothing to different countries for lower labor costs and cheaper materials, which allow them to invest less and gain more.

Impact of Fast Fashion: Pollution, Workers Rights 

Fast fashion is resulting in a lot of pollution around the world. It is one of the highest polluting industries in the world after hydrocarbons and petroleum byproducts. To save money and other financial resources, many of the high-end brands belonging to the fast fashion industry opt for cheap and low-quality fabrics, which have been treated with harmful and toxic chemicals. 

Similarly, companies that are only focused on maximizing their profits have absolutely no interest in reaching out to people working for them and providing them with good compensation and rewards based on the performances that they deserve. This is why the field of fast fashion is bad and considered so unethical.

Is Fast Fashion Bad for the Environment?

The growing demand and market for brands in the fast fashion industry are resulting in serious consequences. Here are some of the factors with key statistics on how fast fashion is taking a toll on the natural environment. 

  • The fashion industry significantly contributes to humanity’s carbon emissions, accounting for up to 60% of our carbon footprint. 
  • You would be surprised to know that 85% of all items produced in the fashion and other types of textile industry are wasted every year. 
  • People may not know this but washing the different types of chemically treated fabric flushes out thousands of tiny and microscopic hazardous particles into our rivers and oceans, polluting our natural water resources. 
  • Clothing production has almost doubled over the last couple of decades with brands rolling out dozens of collections on a yearly basis. A lot of clothing items end up in dumping sites without even being properly used. The most commonly used way to get rid of them is by burning or dumping them in a landfill. 
  • The chemical waste that goes into the ocean as a result of washing clothing items made with synthetic and chemically treated materials is equivalent to approximately 50 billion plastic bottles. 
  • Polyester is the most commonly used synthetic fiber that is made from plastic and is found in around 60% of clothing items and related accessories produced in today’s world. 
  • According to a report released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2017, around 35% of all microplastics, which are based on tiny little pieces of plastic, found in the ocean never biodegrade and actually come from washing and treating synthetic textiles containing microplastics with the different types of commonly used laundering techniques.
  • Hence, it can be safely concluded that pollution is one of the most prominent negative impacts of fashion on the environment. 

Why is fast fashion bad? Well, now you know the answer and the way large companies are relying on unethical practices to maximize their profits. Their wrongdoings are not only negatively impacting the environment but also exploiting human resources, who are not even rewarded well after all of their hard work and efforts.

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