What is fast fashion? I’ll admit that I am just learning about this and becoming a more aware consumer. This year I really want to be more conscious about what I am buying and how it is affecting the people and environment around me.
So one of my goals this year is to avoid fast fashion like the plague. Like I said earlier I am just becoming aware of what fast fashion means and the pitfalls of it so I thought this would be a really good thing to post about. My guess is there are a lot more people than just me who are not super aware about how their shopping habits are effecting others.
Fast fashion is actually a very straightforward concept. Companies create hundreds of items quickly and sell them for cheap prices. So far this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, until you realize how they are able to do it. In order to create so many items quickly they use cheaper, less durable materials and they are created in this simplest means possible in order to be made quickly.
This sacrifice on quality creates environmental concerns along with financial ones for the consumer. Environmentally we have to consider where do all these clothes go after they rip and tear? Because they have been made so poorly they will, and much quicker than a well made garment.
We have all been there. You find a super cute dress at Target and literally a month later the zipper goes out. If you are like me you hold on to it for a few weeks pretending that you’re going to find someone to fix it, but eventually you throw it away.
This has never seemed like a big deal to me until I started to read more about what this actually means. The reasons I never really thought about it was for the same reasons I think most people don’t. First off, initially I’m mad, but then I think, “Eh, it was only $20 bucks. At least I got a few good wears out of it.” Second off, what else am I going to do with it if I don’t throw it away? I’m not going to donate it to a resale store because they’re not going to take an item that is ruined. Also I’m not super crafty so I can’t turn it into anything else. Throwing it away seems a fair option.
Here’s where my choices are creating negative results. Since, I threw the dress away I now have to replace it. So I buy another $20 dress and now that one dress I needed for summer has technically doubled in price. In reality I’ve spent $40 on this dress, but quality wise it is still lacking. Best-case scenario this dress will last a few months and then I’ll be back where I started. Also I am not the only person who is throwing away items like this.
So here’s the big question. If every person is throwing away just one item like this a year what type of effect is that having on the environment? You can’t throw clothes away in your recycling. The reality of the situation is we are all throwing away a lot more than one item a year and it is taking it’s toll on the planet. We can decrease the frequency of this by a lot if we are buying more long-lasting quality items.
The next concern with fast fashion deals with how cheaply they are able to sell them. This is a problem. A problem I had never thought of or maybe I just didn’t want to think about it. If a company is selling a shirt for $10 how are they able to pay their workers a fair wage? The answer, they’re not. The fact of the matter is when I buy items like that my money is basically going entirely to the company with very little of it going to the workers creating it.
Companies are able to do this by making their products overseas where there are not laws protecting workers. We have all heard of sweatshops, but it is hard to associate them with the “family friendly” companies here in the states. Not only are adults being exploited but children are too. Every time we buy one of these items we are supporting the companies who are knowingly and without remorse hurting these people. Therefore we are hurting them too.
I want to make a real effort to STOP supporting these companies. Maybe there are not any laws (currently) able to stop them, but we as consumers can. By not purchasing their items we hurt them financially. This forces them to either change their practices or lose their companies. We as people should never forget the power we have as consumers.
I will be posting more about fast fashion and the things I learn. Upcoming posts will include lists of fast fashion suppliers to avoid and companies that are known to pay their workers a fair wage. So don’t forget to subscribe to GrimmGirl to learn more with me!
* I did not create these images *