Before starting this article, I would like to ask you a question. Look at the clothes you’re wearing right now, do you know where they were produced? Who made them? Are the people who made them getting a good wage?
If the answer is no, it’s likely because of the lack of transparency between the companies and consumers. This lack of transparency leads to the companies exercising shady practices like not giving their workers a good daily wage, not disclosing their greenhouse gas emissions, And all of this is a result of Fast Fashion.
Fast fashion, as described by Cambridge Dictionary, are clothes that are made and sold cheaply, so that people can buy new clothes often. It is the fast and cheap production of garments which are meant to last a very short amount of time forcing consumers to buy more clothes more often. This puts fashion and clothing in a vicious cycle of buying the trend, the trend changing, buying the new trend. Fast fashion is a direct result of the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism.
Fast fashion has a number of consequences on different aspects of society and environment. These include human rights, greenhouse emissions,
On 24th April, 2013 the Rana Plaza Collapse took place due to a structural failure which led to the death of around 1,132 workers, most of which were women. More 2,000 people were injured and several went missing. Rana Plaza is a building situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh and housed around 5 garment factories. It was a horrifying image for the workers and their families who were already living below poverty line. Rana Plaza Collapse is only one of the shortcoming and failure of the fast fashion industry. Furthermore, the fashion industry eternalizes the gender discrimination with almost 80% workers being women. These women have to face more of the on-going violations of rights than men.
According to the UN Environment Programme, the fast fashion industry is the second biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10 % of global carbon emission which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. The industry generates around 20% of the world’s waste water and releases half a million tons of microfibers into the ocean annually. These figures become more horrifying when you realize that the average consumer now buys 60% more clothing than 15 years ago but the items are kept for only half as long.
All these consequences are inevitable when the companies only focus on producing more clothing, cheaper and faster.
Now is the perfect time to break this vicious cycle clothing and fashion is trapped in. Following are the ways to do so;
On an individual level we can combat this by Shopping Local, Avoiding the Fast Fashion Companies, Thrifting, Buying Second hand, Donating the garments, Investing in quality slow fashion clothing and raising awareness on this topic.
On a bigger level we should ask companies to be more transparent and implement
| laws which hold companies to be accountable for the harm they are causing. Holding companies to be responsible for is a great way of eliminating fast fashion because the main problems are the ethics and practices of the companies.
Another way to deal with this would be localising fashion; it not only deals with the problem of fast fashion but also helps the economy and supports the small scale businesses.
To deal with fast fashion not only individual but also community level work is required to be done.