The 'fast fashion' garments control the fashion industry and the market since almost two decates. With brands like Zara, Primark, H&M and all the retail giants offer us beautiful clothes for cheap prices, allowing the client to combine this garments in infinite ways. But the reallity of these clothes it's that's the second biggest contaminating industry in the world.
The quality of these low cost garments it's not only that, it's a strategy to sell more and more since the clothes last less and less. Combining the worst cotton quality with a lot of synthetic fibers of oil origin and the work of exploited women in remote villages they obtain a garment worth only a few cents. This designs not even last a season before the brands change their aesthetic trends every few months in order to increase their obsolescence. With this strategy these clients accumulate a lot of cheap clothes which seems obsolete and that has cost altogether more than a higher quality garment.
To all this we have to add the agressive harvest of cotton, it's already damaging becouse of the tons of litres that are needed to cultivate it but it's also leaves herbicides, pesticides and other toxic components for the environment. We need to aknowledge that's it's not an organic and natural cotton, there are also a genetically modified varieties which although have their benefits, have negative effects, such as the self-production of herbicide and insecticide toxins that, while saving the use of pesticides, in the end end up contaminating the fields, decreasing production and preventing biodiversity. The poor quality of the dyes are not only toxic, they are also poorly managed. Third World outsourced industries end up throwing the excess waste into rivers without any treatment, something that contaminates them fatally. Such is the case of numerous affluents of the Ganges in India.
This industry also accumulate the synthetic fibres with oil origin, something that prevents the garments from being biodegradable. If we take into account that an average american toss an average of 37 kilos of clothes per year, mostly low cost garments, it's an awful lot of non-biodegradable waste.
And finally, the essential labor exploitation for it success. The model that these brands follow needs that large volumes of clothing were sold, since the margin is very small. Only with a large turnover in consumption is it possible to obtain the enormous benefit that these big low cost brands have. This implies the use of almost slavery labor, people that are working up to 16 hours for less than two dollars a day and in appalling conditions in the Third World. We seen this and their poor work conditions with the tragedy of Raza Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013.
Many brands started to see the benefits of the slow fashion philosophy. An initiative that promotes buying fewer clothes, buying quality clothes and because we love each piece. Give value to the work of the teams and the designer behind these garments. With the recent change that has been taking place in the customer, increasingly aware of the environment, it seems that these model will (hopefully) not last long.
By Aliya Akhunova