Problems with Fast Fashion and is Sustainable Slow Fashion the way out?Urbanmedley
Punch in the exclusive discount code ‘just for you’ and get 70% off ! An evening dress for just Euro 15! The winter coat you were eying for so long now at a 25% discount-
All this and more surely sound too good to be true but take a deep breath and think!
Is it really possible are the brands knocking off the price just for you and taking a LOSS, No it doesn’t work that way- someone somewhere has already paid for it – This is FAST Fashion entrapping you.
So what exactly is Fast fashion ?
It’s a business model whereby fashion brands produce large quantities of items as per the latest trends and designs and make it available to consumers at an affordable price as soon as possible.
Obviously, they are of low quality and expected to be disposed off by consumers after just a few uses.
“Fast fashion giants make clothing to fall apart: they are obsessed with the bottom line, so will do anything to make you buy more clothes.” – Huffington Post
So if Fast Fashion allows us to buy latest fashion at affordable prices what exactly is the issue.
What is the problem with fast fashion?
To remain profitable as a business model, Fast fashion has to depend on various unethical practices and the raw materials used and the production process followed is simply not sustainable.
Fabrics used in fast fashion are extremely harmful to environment – plastic-derived synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, nylon are made using fossil fuels, they shed microplastics, aren’t biodegradable, and have a high carbon footprint. Cotton that is genetically modified and requires huge quantities of chemical pesticides is also popular in fast fashion.
Fast Fashion Statistics which will help us understand the size of the problem we are faced with today
- 2720 litres of water is required to produce one cotton shirt uses around the same amount as an average person drinks over three years. (Ejfoundation)
- 706 billion kg of greenhouse gases created per year because of polyester production (World Resources Institute).
- Garment manufacturing accounts for 20% of global industrial water pollution. (World Resources Institute).
- By 2030, the total amount of fashion waste is expected to be 148 million tonnes – equivalent to 17.5 kg per person across the planet. (Global Fashion Agenda)
- More than 50% of the emissions from clothing production comes from three phases: dyeing and finishing (36%), yarn preparation (28%) and fibre production (15%). (Quantis)
- Clothes made of synthetic fibres take over 200 years to decompose.
In addition to the negative impacts of fast fashion on environment the other crucial part is the human impact.
- Fast fashion brands mostly work through factories in countries with least regard to labour laws.
- Workers are under paid and made to work inhuman hours. Some factories even employ child labour.
- In most cases the working conditions are simply unacceptable with no provision for health, sanitation, safety, and security of the workers.
- There is a large percentage of women amongst garment workers and their conditions are even worse than their male counterparts.
Let’s be honest- The fast fashion business model is such that it cannot be humane and sustainable, and it is the consumers who are fuelling it.
It is us consumers who are buying more and more of inferior clothing at a cheaper price. We are disposing off with them within a very short time. Often women do not even repeat a clothing item!
What is the alternative?
Simply put to be conscious of what you buy. Buy clothes and accessories possible made of sustainable materials. Support sustainable slow fashion industry.
Buy what you need and when you need.
Love your clothes and use them longer and when not in use maybe share them or swap them.
Be conscious of the brands you buy from and try to learn about the way they treat their workers.
Here at Urban Medley we have made a promise to bring you maximum possible sustainable fashion products. Our products are 100% handmade and we work with communities of artisans. Our artisans are fairly paid. They either work within the comforts of their own home or in workshops which provide clean, safe and secure work conditions.
There are many small brands like ourselves promoting sustainable slow fashion, shop with them.
There are many problems created by Fast Fashion but you can with every dollar you pay bring about a change and be a part of the much needed change.
Author Shayonti Chatterji