It’s a term we’re hearing more often than we ever have in the past, it’s a fairly new thing as more brands pop up all over the internet promising to deliver more designs in a shorter time frame than the last brand. But what exactly is fast fashion and why is it bad?
Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trendsOxford Dictionary Definition
Let’s kick this off by stating that a brand new top should never cost £1. You shouldn’t be able to pay someone for the design, fabric, labour, embellishments and all of the many other costs to creating a garment, for just a mere couple of pounds. Back in the day, you had set seasons where shops would design their collections and they would stick with that until the next season rolled around – you had your spring/summer and autumn/winter in the same way as your fashion weeks.
In recent years those turnaround times for collections has rapidly reduced from half a year to mere days before something new has dropped online or in stores and this is what we call fast fashion.
Fast fashion exists predominantly on the high street and on the internet; brands such as ASOS, Boohoo, Missguided and Pretty Little Thing have paved the way for the internet, whilst the likes of Primark, New Look, Topshop, Zara and Miss Selfridge have done the same on the high street. Designs are turned around in a matter of weeks and are predominantly influenced by the designers sending their new collections down the catwalk, or in most recent years inspired by celebrity outfits.
I’m not going to sit here and preach about not conforming to the fast fashion lifestyle without admitting that I’ve been part of the cog in the machine and still am to an extent. The internet has contributed to the need everyone has for something new every day – we’ve seen someone on the internet wearing something and we need to know where it was from and when we can get the same thing. We need to buy something new to wear for that event we’ve got on next week because we’ve already shared photos of us wearing something else. Social media has simply been a tool in lining the pockets of the people that saw what was happening and thought I know how we can make a quick buck!
If you’ve been a follower for a while, you’ll have seen that a lot of my posts of late have been predominantly focused on sustainable fashion and investigating whether certain companies are ethical – but I think what’s been lacking from the posts is something that defines exactly what kind of business models these are.
A fast fashion company predominantly does their business online – mainly to cut the costs of opening stores and the expenses that come with doing so (rent, business rates etc.) so it makes more business sense for them to operate from one location and keep it entirely online. With the social media boom coinciding, it also makes a great opportunity for companies to jump in on the action and market their new products through targeted online advertising and influencer collaborations – the very people that have the target audience they’re after and will no doubt bring in more sales than if they’d stick with regular advertising.
Okay we’ve established what fast fashion is, but why is it bad?
In a nutshell, we’re polluting the planet and not considering the livelihoods of those producing the garments in the first place.
I’d like you to think about what happens to your clothes when you’re finished with them for a second. I’m assuming you either drop a bag off in a charity shop or just bin the ones that have fallen apart after a couple of wears because it’s cheap tat?
Dropping off your decent clothes at a charity shop or selling them online is great, but some of these shops are inundated with clothes that they cannot realistically sell or send on to the countries that need them the most because they’re not practical.
By throwing away your tat, you’re sending a piece of clothing to the elements and waiting years for it to disintegrate into the earth. You’re polluting the planet that little bit more not only through this, but by purchasing something that was produced in a country where the water supply is polluted by the chemicals used to produce that single piece of clothing you purchased.
By purchasing something from a fast fashion brand you are placing the worth of work that another human being has done to create the garment at a level that is way below that of your own job. These workers spend most of their days working in sweatshops, doing twelve hour plus shifts and for what? So someone on the other side of the world can pay a couple of quid for a top they’re only ever going to wear once?
Since last year I’ve only bought myself one brand new item and that was a pair of shoes from TK Maxx (I was trying to find a decent secondhand pair but couldn’t get anything either in my size or suitable for meetings at work) and am finding it increasingly difficult morally to purchase anything from these brands.
I’m not going to condemn you to the depths of hell for wanting to buy into new trends or for Keeping up with the Kardashians, but I hope I’ve been able to give you some food for thought so when it comes to your next shopping spree you might second guess whether you need another pair of jeans.
Buy less, buy better, buy secondhand when you can!