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What is Fast fashion?

by Kayla Mackinnon
What is fast fashion

So what is Fast Fashion? Have you noticed that clothes have been getting cheaper lately?  People used to purchase high-quality clothing when they needed it but now it seems that people are buying clothes constantly now that is more affordable. You have probably heard the term “fast fashion” be thrown around but do you really know what it means? 

Basically, fast fashion is mass-produced clothing that is made at low cost and in poor conditions. These items of clothing are generally fashionable briefly but then the consumer is done with these items they generally end up overflowing in charity shops or in landfill. Here is the real cost of cheap fashion. 

How to spot fast fashion 

  • A single clothing shop has 1000’s of styles. It is not likely that they are designing all of these themselves. 

  • The clothing is cheap and usually doesn’t last much longer after the first few washes. 

  • The clothes are manufactured in countries where manufacturing is cheap. Some countries to look out for include Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, India, as well as many other countries with low costs of labour. 

  • The styles look as though they are replicas of more expensive brands.   

Environmental impacts of fast fashion

Fast fashion is cheap. As a result, mass-produced quantities of cheap textiles, dyes and other materials need to be made. There is little regard for the environment in these manufacturing facilities. A lot of cheap clothing products also contain fast amounts of polyester. Polyester is derived from fossil fuels and once you take into consideration the billions of garments that contain these products you can really see the impact it has on the environment. 

Because a lot of the items are cheaply made they usually end up deteriorating after a few washes. Most people do not want to donate damaged clothes to charity so these garments usually end up in landfill resulting in millions of fast fashion items clogging the environment each year.  This could be avoided if people were to just purchase some high quality and durable items of clothing as opposed to buying cheap clothing often. 

Ethical impacts of fast fashion 

A lot of the time fast fashion is made by people who are working in slave-like conditions. Less than 2% of women working in these factories make a living wage. The people working in these factories are exposed to toxic chemicals, hazardous materials and work with little breaks and very little pay. When you purchase fast fashion you are supporting this industry. 

What you can do

  1. Do your research and try to support brands that do not use slave-labour in the production of their clothing. 

  2. Do not think of shopping as a hobby. Instead, buy some high-quality garments that last you season after season and when you’re done with them recycle them or donate them to charity. 

  3. Don’t throw away your clothes. There are ways that you can recycle your old garments if they are not suitable to give to charity. 

  4. You do not need to purchase expensive clothing to avoid fast fashion. There are many affordable brands that do not support fast fashion. You can also buy more expensive clothes second hand, at a discount or on sale.


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