The fast fashion industry has its pros and cons, like everything in life. This matter is important to take into account the next time you purchase a garment. Because being a responsible and conscious fashion consumer is not as simple as it looks but neither is impossible. And being aware of fast fashion pros and cons is key. So in this post we are going to talk about it deeper.
What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion is the mass production of cheap and disposable clothing. It uses trends replication and low-quality materials in order to bring affordable and trendy styles to the public. Indeed the United Nations established fashion as an environmental and social emergency.
Fast fashion pros
Believe it or not, the fast fashion industry has its pros and not only cons. If not, it wouldn’t have the power it has right now. Tell me what you think about this in the comments and if I forgot to mention another pro tell me too, please!
Thanks to fast fashion it is easy for customers to acquire trendy items at a very low price. Nowadays with the Internet and social media, fashion trends are viewed by everybody and they want to have them ASAP. Well, that is possible with fast fashion. They produce their clothes very fast and you will find whatever you need in their stores.
Fast fashion cons
Nothing is as perfect as it looks. Like I said before, thanks to fast fashion it is easy for customers to acquire trendy items at a very low price. But these garments are not sustainable, the fast fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world after the oil industry. And as long as the customer has access to cheap clothes, the planet suffers the cost. Let’s see some numbers:
- Every single second the equivalent of one garbage truck of textils is burning or throwing to a landfill. Most of the garments are made of synthetic fibers (like polyester) that are plastic fibers. Furthermore they’re non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose.
- What if I tell you that it requires 10,000 litres of water to manufacture a single pair of jeans? Or that it takes 20,000 liters of water to produce just 1kg of cotton? The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of the total waste of water globally. This is the equivalent of the amount of water that 5 million people need to survive.
- The apparel industry emits 10% of the global carbon emissions. That’s more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined. And this is due the energy used during its production, manufacturing and transportation of all the million pieces each year.
- 23% of all chemicals produced worldwide are used for the textile industry. It needs 1kg of chemicals to produce 1kg of textile. And 20,000 people die of cancer and miserriages every years as a result of chemicals sprayed on cotton.
Fast fashion clothes are made with low-quality materials so clothes don’t last much. The average lifetime of a garment today is of 3 years. This is sad for two reasons: first, when I love an item I want to wear it all the time, and makes me feel angry when I see it in bad conditions and can’t use it anymore. And secondly, as a consequence I have to buy another similar item to wear. These clothes can be cheaper but when you realize that you have to buy several items in order to keep wearing them… it’s not much convenient.
Another con is that everyone wears the same clothes… I understand trends and styles are trendy on the Internet. But then you find out that your friend has the same shirt, hoodie, or whatever. I support trends and I follow some of them… but I think that is better to have a personal style and feel identified with what you are wearing. And then you can play around and combine it with some trends, etc. I heard girls asking which are the colors of the season and which don’t so they throw away the ones that are not going to be trendy anymore. And I think that this is the worst thing you can do.
Last but not least, the fast fashion industry supports slave work. Nearly all of our clothes are made in countries where workers’ rights are nonexistent. Garment workers are exploited because they are forced to work from about 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, and just gaining $3 per day in terrible conditions. Indeed this thing was revealed to the public when happened the incident at Rana Plaza, Bangladesh. At least 1,138 workers died when the fashion factory collapsed.
A report from 2018 published that forced labor and child labor exist in the fashion industry in different countries like Argentina, India, Brazil, China, and more. You can see the report here.
Moreover, as time goes by more and more brands are sharing lists and details about their workers and wages. But it’s not enough because there’s still forced labor and 80% of garment workers are women.
As you can see, the fast fashion industry has more cons than pros… I know that it is very tempting to buy trendy clothes at a very low price. But when you realize that they were made with low-quality materials (plastic), that they will not last much and probably you will have to buy more, and that their people work in bad conditions… well, that’s different.
I hope to be of help the next time you purchase an item with this information. And let me tell you a secret: you can find trendy outfits made of good materials in vintage and second-hand clothes shop at a great price 🙂 There are alternatives to shopping for clothes and being a more responsible fashion consumer. It’s all about doing little steps and being informed. Information is everything!
If you liked this post then I recommend you read Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion.
What do you think about all this? I want to read you all! If you have any questions or suggestions I would be glad to read you in the comments 🙂