Fast Fashions Dirty Problem

Originally published in August 2020.

Fast fashion in recent years as grown an incredibly bad reputation but seemingly, is thriving more than ever; an incredibly contradicting statement yet so very close to the truth. The dividing opinions and attitudes towards fast fashion, whether this a love, loath or a guilty pleasure has been the topic of intense scrutiny the past weeks, with fashion giants unveiling slave labour and unsafe conditions for its workers, right here in the UK. Upon reading the horrors that have unfolded, for me, it came as no shock. If you’re buying a £10 top, for the brand to gain some form of profit, someone along the supply chain is going to suffer; its hardly going to be the wealthy CEO, is it?!  Fast Fashion needs to change, DRASTICALLY, yet it still is carrying on, harming the vulnerable and making the people at the top, with no remorse, richer by the second…

When discussing Fast Fashion, like everything, there are two sides to the story. Fast Fashion painted in the bad light uncovers a whole manner of unethical and unmoral practices, this topic I will discuss further into this post. Yet, it’s easy to cast aside the handful of positives fast fashion has; with the poverty levels in Britain seemingly growing by the day, sadly, Fast Fashion offers families with little disposable income, the chance to shop trends at a lower price and for this there is only positives. Likewise, the fashion industry itself is worth billions to the economy and creates millions of jobs. It’s simply the volume that’s created that is making it a dirty practice, the intense volume of garments made a year and subsequently thrown the landfill is in the millions of tons.
Put simply, the world does not need many more new clothes. From the everyday person who mutters they have ‘nothing to wear’ whilst gazing at a wardrobe full of potential outfits, to the third world countries who are inundated by second hand clothing, to the point that ITV News uncovered that “63,418,990kg of old clothes from the UK were sent to be sold in Ghana last year” [2] which is double of that donated a decade prior. Of course, as mentioned, it is an industry that is responsible for millions of jobs, therefore cannot simply be stopped overnight. But, Fashion needs to be drastically slowed down. It’s simply the amount of clothing created each year that needs to be reined in, if we, as a society, have any hope of tackling the issue.


“Clothes that are made and sold cheaply, so that people can buy new clothes more often” – Cambridge Dictionary

This all begs the question of “how did this happen?”. Of course, it is hard to pin point how and who is to be blame, but with the rise in technology, as well as the need for convenience being at the forefront of the consumers minds, the speed at which fashion as hit the shelves (or the ‘New In’ section) has risen at alarming pace. It is said that brands now release around 52 micro-collections a year compared to the average 2, with “400% more clothes being produced compared to 20 years ago” [3] 
It really is a huge problem that needs to be curbed. A useful Instagram account I often have a look through to learn more about the topic is Venetia La Manna, worth checking her out for more info on this.
With the rise in the number of garments being created has subsequently meant brands continue to search for the lowest prices in which its garments can be made. This has meant factories in far flung Bangladesh et al. where hourly wages are pennies and conditions traitorous have seen a rise in being used by brands such as Primark. It’s more important than ever to be searching how brands are manufacturing their garments; I’ve written more on particular brands with transparent Supply Chains and their importance. 
On the whole, Fast Fashion is a problem. A very big problem. The world is seemingly drowning in clothes, but more and more are they still being bought, worn and thrown away at a rapid speed. The brands responsible are seemingly ignoring all the signs and our planet in suffering in return.  This post, of course, is not to shame anyone for that dress bought in the sale the other day or for browsing Boohoos website. But, it’s to shine a light on the realities of Fast Fashion; I have a post that explores further the unsustainable materials that Fast Fashion is notorious for using and it’s dangers to the environment. 
Ultimately, second-hand shopping or just simply being aware of the clothes you are buying is a positive step in tackling this crisis. A grip needs to be had on Fast Fashion, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Additional Resources:       
[1] The State of Fashion 2020 by Business of Fashion:[2] [3][4][5]

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