Fast Fashion Harms Us Faster

Fast Fashion Harms Us Faster

Fast fashion has taken the apparel market by storm. Compared to the past, new designs are hitting the shelves much faster. Because the intervals between designs have shortened, we now see more seasons in a year. We no longer have to wait for six months to get our hands on new clothes! I’m sure that if we ask our friends around us, many of them buy more than what they really need!

Why is fast fashion so widely accepted? Well, prices have gone down tremendously over the years. The garment industry is made up of large and small firms. It is a very uneven marketplace. With deep pockets, huge factories and a worldwide presence, the large companies easily achieve economies of scale and perform effective marketing. Aided by modern technologies, these companies produce their apparel at a much lower cost and in a much shorter timeframe. The smaller companies are left struggling and the market goes into a price war. As a result, product quality is compromised.

In the past, most garments we bought were durable. This was generally true, regardless of where we bought them. These days, many of these low-priced alternatives fall apart in just a season, that is, if they are even used at all. There are many that just stay in the wardrobe, a sad result of compulsive buying behaviour! Still, because they are cheap, they appeal massively to shoppers. Cheap imitations never fail to draw the crowds.

So many fast fashion stores have appeared in the malls that they have become mainstream. It is now perfectly acceptable to be seen buying and wearing fast fashion, irrespective of age, gender, and profession. The mushrooming of such retail stores around the country means that cheap clothing is flooding the marketplace in an unprecedented manner, characterized by short shelf life and wide varieties of styles and colors to stimulate demand. No doubt, this is a shopper paradise!  Unfortunately, it also gives rise to a huge problem.

With low prices, these clothes are mostly made of synthetic material, the majority of it being polyester. What many do not realise is that polyester, which is cheap and lightweight, is not biodegradable. Each time we throw synthetic fibre clothing into the washing machine, thousands of strands of microfibers get ejected and find their way into streams and oceans. There, they get ingested by sea animals and birds, causing immense trouble to their digestive systems and internal organs. Irresponsible human action has grossly upset nature’s ecosystem.

There is another problem – that of excess clothes that we buy but never use. Compulsive buying behaviour, a result of low prices and the desire to have more, has made many of us hoard stacks of unused clothes in our wardrobes. When we discard these apparel, they end up in our landfills, where they remain for decades or even hundreds of years. This is another example of human behaviour harming our once-pristine natural environment.

As consumers, what can we do about this? If you are already using less plastic bottles and bags, why not take an extra step and take a good look at your wardrobe and buying habits? Say no to fast fashion and excessive consumption. Recognise that fast fashion is associated with environmental harm. Stop hoarding cheap clothes which we seldom or never use. Go for quality, not quantity. Go for sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials that will quickly decompose at the end of their useful lives.

2Comments

    • Avatar
      Donna R
      Mar 23, 2018

      In less than 20 years, the volume of clothing Americans toss each year has doubled from 7 million to 14 million tons, or an astounding 80 pounds per person. That should not be acceptable to anyone. More people need to consider if they really do 'need' that new piece of clothing.

    • Avatar
      Shi P
      Mar 23, 2018

      Yes, scarcity and pollution will be much less of an issue if we who live in affluent societies can cut down on excessive consumption.

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