Fast fashion is everywhere and surrounds us without us giving it much thought. As a person who used to very much enjoy purchasing fast fashion items, I was constantly on the lookout for the new HM, Zara, PLT sales and tried to buy as many clothes possible for the littlest amount of money possible. I knew the clothes’ quality isn’t that good and it didn’t bother me that they don’t last long – after all, I hadn’t spent that much money on them – so why should I care?
How it started
That was until recently, when I was scrolling through my YouTube feed and came across this girl’s video about fast fashion, how brands constantly make us spend more and how without realising, we’ve got this need of having to buy clothes all the time so deeply rooted in us that we’re completely unaware of it. I watched it and I felt bad. Bad because I knew I’m one of those people to nonstop buy cheap items. Not only that but there have been so many times when I have bought something for £4-5, received it, it didn’t fit me well and I just threw it away, instead of donating it, for example. As the video was going deeper and deeper into the topic, I felt shame. You might not know, as I didn’t, that fast fashion has a terrible environmental, economic and social impact. Every second, one truck full of clothes is sent to landfill or burned. That is 82,782,000,000 kilograms of clothing EVERY year.
The demand for clothes has been growing for the last 15 years, not only because of obvious factors, such as the population growth but because we have developed this culture of demanding cheap clothes, buying them and not wearing them more than a few times, without thinking about the consequences this action of ours has. The making a simple pair of jeans produces the same greenhouse emissions as driving a car for almost 130 km. In addition, disregarded clothes made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for over 200 years.
Whereas fast fashion culture is harmful enough on its own, there is a whole new social impact that it causes. For countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, China, India, Philippines and more, fast fashion has provided an opportunity for poorer people to earn some money. However, there are many reports stating that the conditions provided for those workers are beyond shocking, dangerous and unhealthy. In most of the cases, they’re paid way below minimum wage, hence why the clothes’ prices remain so low. But they have no other choice, as the demand for those clothes is growing and it is often their only way of earning some money, although their salaries could be as little as $96 per month.
What you can do
Although I should be the last person to be pointing fingers, I’m sure many of us can survive without buying super cheap clothing items. We can all try to unite and change the clothing industry, the same way that we’re dealing with the plastic pollution problem. Investing in your wardrobe and making sure you’re buying more expensive but longer lasting items could be very beneficial for both your pocket and the industry. Together, we should be able to fight and demand more fair treatment for all the people working for those clothing brands.
It’s never too late to start becoming more environmentally friendly! I hope my text made you feel something and inspired you to undertake an action, the same way that video inspired me. Thanks for reading it and as usual, don’t be too shy to share your thoughts with us below!
Featured Image Source: https://www.standard.co.uk/futurelondon/theplasticfreeproject/fast-fashion-plastic-tax-a4070241.html
I'm just a regular PR student who loves snowboarding and spending time with my friends :) Oh, and I also enjoy walks in the park and visiting museums.