What is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion is the term used to describe inexpensive clothing knockoffs moving quickly from catwalk to retailer. The fast nature means retailers are able to meet fashion trends and stay relevant to the market. However, where trends are quick to hit the market, trends also just as quickly die out. This is having quite a negative impact on the environment, through excessive excretion of greenhouse gases during production, and creating a lot of waste.
Fast Fashion & Pollution
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world, second only to the ever polluting oil industry. It seems like a strange concept, clothing is doing as much damage as oil is? Annually, the world consumes about 80 Billion new pieces of clothing. This is 4 times the amount that was consumed 20 years ago. Here in Australia, we are binning 85% of our new clothing every year. This means we are buying clothes, wearing it a handful of times and then discarding of it when it is no longer on trend, or we are bored of it.
Fast fashion is causing an increase in carbon emissions through the production stages. Items of ‘fast fashion’ clothing are often made from synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon. Unfortunately, these materials are made of a plastic based material, which means it can take centuries to degrade when in landfill. This is an issue because as the items degrade, it releases harmful toxins into the atmosphere.
Ethical Implications of Fast Fashion
There is also a strong ethical debate surrounding fast fashion and what it means for low socio-economic countries where this clothing is being produced. According to the Oxfam report, released April 2016, more than 60 million people work in the clothing industry to sustain the demand for fast fashion. The issue here is the people working in the factories are often working in sweat shop conditions, earning below minimum wage. 80% of the people working in these factories are women, typically from low socio-economic backgrounds. The constant demand for fast fashion is allowing the companies supplying the items to continue to produce in these conditions.
So what can you do?
- Before making your next purchase, check out the Australian Ethical Fashion Finder to see if the brand you’re looking to purchase, produces their items in ethical conditions.
- UP-CYCLE your clothes! Give your clothes new life by changing them up. Add some lace, cut it shorter, sew a pattern- the options are endless.
- Swap clothes with friends, sell your clothes online, have a garage sale, use an online marketplace like carousell to hook your clothes up with new owners
- Always choose quality over quantity. It may be cheap, but think about the impact its having.
- Buy Local