WHAT IS FAST FASHION AND THE IMPACT IT HAS ON THE ENVIRONMENT?
Fast fashion, is well known in fashion companies like Boohoo, MissGuided and Pretty Little Thing, where the production process is so fast to the point they are releasing new garments everyday. What makes it fast other than the production, the garment is worn a handful of times then discarded and thrown out. Fast fashion has become a norm across the industry and is being targeted towards young women and the female demographic. Fast Fashion is a significant supporter of ozone depleting substances, water and air contamination, makes risky degrees of waste, and frequently accompanies poor working conditions in different countries. Furthermore, fast fashion comes in second to the world's largest polluting industry after Oil.
Fast production, fast sale and fast use is one of the main problems of fast fashion. Boohoo has a section on their website which showcases new products this week which showed an alarming amount of clothes around 650 garments. This is a lot of clothes to produce every week and is one of the main reasons that clothes from fast fashion retailers are non-recyclable.Furthermore, fast use is when the consumer gives into mass-consumption and discards the clothes within a couple of weeks and a couple of uses. Fast use is seen more within young women and teenagers as they don’t want to be seen wearing the same outfit again. Moreover, an average person purchases 60% more clothes than they did 15 years ago.Fast sale also means that the company will sell to a consumer using cheap prices, cheap delivery (which is usually free if you spend a particular amount). The company will target the consumer by using methods like ‘Klarna’, which is an online credit company that allows you to pay in installments every month.In the UK, fashion is one of the biggest industries, contributing over £32 billion to the British economy every year. Proportionally, British consumers buy more new garments per person than any other country in Europe.
Social Costs of Fast Fashion:
Many of the clothes that are produced for fast fashion giants, like Zara, Topshop and Boohoo come from Asia. According to Remake, an non-profit organisation around 80% apparel is made from women and teenagers (18-24). On top of that, the workers are paid less than the minimum wage Bangladesh for example, women make £75 a month barely enough to live a good quality standard life with basic needs.Unsafe working conditions are very common, back in 2013 a Garment Factory collapsed in Bangladesh, Dhaka. It called for stricter rules and safety for workers, 7 years on thousands of factory owners have invested in fire doors, sprinkler systems, electrical upgrades and stronger foundations. Overall, eliminating more than 97,000 identified safety hazards in factories.An estimated 170 million children are involved in child Labour in countries across Asia predominanly in India, Pakistan China and Bangladesh. It is estimated that a majority of these child labourers work within the fashion supply chain, producing the textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe and worldwide.
Economical Impacts of Fast Fashion:
Clothing production has doubled over the last 15 years, it is predicted by 2050 there will be a 400% increase in world GDP which means a greater demand for clothing. Current economic trends of increasing global GDP show us that more people across the world have access to disposable income. Thus, they can purchase and give into the fast fashion industry. It is an exceedingly unsustainable model, and an example of unnecessary consumption and give into the fashion industry that has an overwhelming environmental impact.Approximately 2700 litres are used to make one cotton T-Shirt, which is around enough drinking water for 1 person to last 2 1⁄2 years. This is a huge problem, as many people across the globe have no access to clean, drinking water and enough clean water to help one person for a couple of years is used for 1 T-Shirt is disappointing.
On the off chance that present worldwide economic trends proceed, the fast fashion industry will keep on developing with more prominent potential dangers. The best way to adequately fix this issue is to undermine the first wellspring of fast fashion: the interest. Many trends come in and out of fashion, there are many new ways to overcome this by re-purchasing clothes or just even recycling clothes.
WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES OF FAST FASHION?
We rarely see the impact that the fast fashion industry has on the environment. Contributing to greenhouse gases, contaminating oceans, rising climate changes and poisoning of food chains; the fast fashion industry is seen as the second biggest polluter in the world. A lot of the environmental factors include factories dumping contaminated water into the ocean; in 2015, the fast fashion industry produced 92 million tons of wastewater and contaminated rivers and oceans. Furthermore, in 2015, the fast fashion industry drained 80 billion cubic metres of freshwater. Water pollution is becoming a huge problem and danger to fish species.
When producing clothes and fabrics a lot of harmful toxins and chemicals are released into the air and can be harmful towards humans and the ecosystem. 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions are produced annually from the fashion/ textile industry. Petrochemical-derived fabrics incorporate plastic polymers like nylon, rayon, thick, and polyester; in 2016 the fast fashion industry utilised 21.3 million tons of polyester. That is a 157% expansion from the year 2000. Projections show the utilisation of manufactured textures will keep on expanding.
Just a single percent of textile waste is recycled. Most by far, be that as it may, is either burned, discharging carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane gas into the environment, or tossed into landfills. If it isn't recycled 73% of the garments are tossed in landfills, or pushed into third-world countries (0.5 million tons), is pushed upon underdeveloped nations; Kenya, for instance, purchases $20 million of utilized garments from Western nations yearly, strengthening their transcendently casual economy and slaughtering household industry. Most garments sent to underdeveloped nations end up in third world landfills, and end up not effectively knowing how to manage the waste therefore, increasing health and environmental hazards.
In 2018, £140 million worth of garments was sent to landfill in the UK alone, compared to around 350,000 tons of undesirable articles of clothing. Normally, western families are seen to discard 30kg of garments yearly, and of that 30kg just 4.5kg is reused or donated. In 2018, Burberry burned millions of pounds worth of clothes. £90 million worth of goods/ garments were destroyed over five years instead of selling them off cheaply, Burberry has officially stopped this practice.
Fast Fashion Statistics:
- Fast fashion retailers grew by 9.7% between 2010 and 2015, this is very concerning as there is a growing market for fast fashion
- We now consume about 80 billion new garments every year — 400% more than we were consuming just two decades ago
- An average UK shopper only wears 70% of what’s in their wardrobe and throws out 70 kilograms of garment waste annually
- 85% of our old clothes end up in a landfill
- they are mainly burnt and only 1% can be recycled- Zara puts out 24 collections every year
- this is an astounding amount of clothes
- Washing clothes, releases 500,000 tons of plastic into the ocean each year — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.
- The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity's carbon emissions - more than international flights-
Why You Should Rethink Buying Into Fast Fashion:
Fast fashion is very tempting, and gives into the most current trends at the cheapest prices. You can wear what all the celebs are wearing at more affordable prices - for example Boohoo producing Kim Kardashians and many style icons dresses and clothes for a cheap price. But at what price? As mentioned above there are so many negative effects of producing clothes in a fast paced manner. However, when so many brands like Zara, H&M, Nasty Gal are producing cheaper clothes that are in trend and at a cheap price what can you do to stop from purchasing these clothes at a rapid pace and get rid of mass consumption.
1) The clothes are cheap and are knockoffs: Most of the time, the design is copied from smaller brands, and are ripped off as many people aren’t familiar with the brand. Many companies have ripped off smaller brands especially swimwear brands - the copying is not just on the pattern but the whole garment. Furthermore, because the clothes are being sold for so cheap; the clothes are most likely produced under cheap labour, the material and textiles used are cheap and easy to produce - therefore, before you purchase think about the garments longevity.
2) Ethics: A majority of factories that produce your garments have horrible ethics for their employees, this includes paying their staff less than minimum wage, horrible working conditions, not sanitary, child labourers and cramped and overworked employees. The buildings also are very old and can be built using cheap materials - Rana Plaza, Dhaka 2013
3) Environmentally Disastrous: Every year around 2 trillion gallons of water is used in the fashion industry and around 1⁄4 of the water becomes wastewater which means it is disposed in the ocean becoming a danger to fish species and humans. Furthermore around 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions are produced in the textile industry. The fast fashion industry is slowly destroying the Earth and the effects of factory employees treating clothes with chemicals is very harmful towards their health and houses near the factories become hazardous as well.
Alternatives of Choosing Fast Fashion:
There are many alternatives instead of giving into fast fashion, fashion fades but style remains. Many trends come in and out of fashion. You would be surprised how many people donate, sell, buy second-hand and more.
1) Selling: When you are finished with your clothes and you paid a pretty penny for the garment, why not try selling the item. Many people are out there looking after your item and there are many platforms designed for you to sell your items. For example, the most well-known for youths is ‘Depop’. You can sell your item and get money back for your products you sell. It is a very easy process and you can find many people are on the hunt for things similar to what you own. Another thing good about selling platforms like ‘Depop’, buyers rarely care if it isn’t in the best condition.
2) Buying Second-hand: The best place to buy second-hand is ‘Depop’, so many sellers sell vintage clothing and in general clothing they don’t wear anymore. If you are looking for animal print or cute items from ‘Y2K’ - you will be able to find a huge variety. Also going to charity shops you can find great items that are designer at a reduced price.
3) Donate/ Charity: In the UK more and more charity shops are opening and shops that have been opened for years like RedCross and British Heart Foundation. You can go in and drop off clothes, and even furniture that you no longer use. This is such a good way to get rid of clothes without throwing them in the bin. Many people can repurpose your clothes and it’s a good way to not contribute towards the fast fashion industry. Furthermore, many charity bins are placed across the UK where you can drop off your clothes - this is a good way if you have no time to sell or go in physically and the clothes are given to people who need it.