Slow Down on Fast Fashion



Fast fashion is causing harm to the planet and consumers should look to other alternatives when buying clothes.

Kayden Mandley, Photojournalist

The term “fast fashion” has been circulating in the media recently, but do we know what it really is? According to Investopedia, “Fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends… [it] allows mainstream consumers to purchase trendy clothing at an affordable price.” 


In other words, fast fashion is producing the newest styles of clothing in the fastest, cheapest way possible so shoppers can purchase clothes that are still trending. However, the sad reality is that as soon as these trends are at the height of their popularity, a new trend comes along and consumers disregard their other clothes after wearing them only a few times. This creates an unsustainable system of overproduction and consumption in the fashion industry, becoming one of the main polluters in the entire world. 


For some more background information, let us reminisce on the Industrial Revolution, where fashion and clothing became increasingly faster to produce with the help of the world’s newest invention: the sewing machine. From then on, clothes became a lot more easier, faster, and cheaper to make, and thus, the fashion industry emerged! Overtime, more factories were built as the demand for clothes progressed and fashion became more normalized. Unfortunately, many of these new factories exploited their workers who were mostly young, immigrant women hoping to build a life for themselves in the United States. On March 25, 1911, a deadly fire erupted in New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, taking the lives of 146 garment workers. (Fashion History Lesson: The Origins of Fast Fashion, “Fashionista). 


Fast forward to today, fast fashion still exists and, with the help of online shopping and various forms of social media, is accelerating at an alarming rate. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why is fast fashion still bad?” Yes, most fast fashion brands allow consumers to choose from hundreds to thousands of trending styles for cheap prices. Yes, fast fashion brands enable shoppers to constantly be on top of the latest trends in the fashion industry. However, in addition to mistreating their workers, fast fashion businesses are massively impacting our planet, causing detrimental harm to the environment as we continue to support these unsustainable fashion retailers.


“When I look at fast fashion’s effect on the environment,” explains Shayda Roshdieh (12), who is a huge advocate in environmental conservation, “I immediately focus on the insane amount of carbon emissions that are released from factories producing this type of clothing.” To expand, on top of producing 10% of all carbon emission worldwide, fast fashion industries are the second largest water consumer in the world and pollute the earth’s oceans with plastic.


As an alternative choice from fast fashion clothing brands, Shayda recommends thrifting or “Buying from companies that go through the ‘slow fashion’ process. By doing this… you are personally lessening your negative impact and carbon footprint on the world.”


Clothing trends come and go, but our planet is forever. Slow down on fast fashion!