Fast Fashion Comes at a High Price

Hold off on those $20 jeans


Fast fashion has become a recently growing topic that has been at the forefront of what Millennials and Gen Z are concerned about. Fast fashion is high-end clothing being made accessible to an everyday person. It was originated by companies that wanted to recreate clothing styles from runways and make it affordable and accessible. While it seems like a good idea up front, the accessibility comes with a price.

Recently, fast fashion has become a practice fashion companies follow as a result of social media. Social media is driven largely by image and sets trends. It is notable that influencers impact the way that we dress and our style choices. The fashion companies monitor these trends and work to make cheap replicas of the clothes celebrities are wearing to incite resources.

An example of this is the Kardashian-Jenner fashion and company Fashion Nova copying their exact outfits. While it might be nice to be able to keep in trend with clothing, there is another price that is being paid.

“The majority of these countries are located [in Central America] because of the close proximity Canada and the US — one of the two largest consumer countries,” states Sweatshop. “This allows retailers to purchases sweatshop goods for as little as possible.”

Fashion companies have no concern about what they have to do to make their money. They own sweatshops in countries that don’t enforce strict labor laws, leaving them open to violate several environmental regulations and human rights.

These companies practices take a toll on the environment. The amount of fabric that goes to waste a year is increasing as fashion stores make sure to have enough of the latest trendy clothing in stock for a consumer.

Even more so, they sometimes use toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes, etc. to make the product for the cheapest amount.

“Each year, the clothing that is simply thrown away amounts to about 11 million tons in the US alone,” said Audrey Stanton. “These garments, full of lead, pesticides, and countless other chemicals, almost never break down and spend their life releasing these toxic chemicals in the air.

While also having an impact on the Earth, these fast fashion companies have an impact on those who it employs.

The very toxins that are being released into the air are also exposed to the workers who are producing the clothes. Even more so, the cities where these companies are located are constantly exposed to these chemicals. Companies exploit the fact that many of their employees have no other choice than to work in the factories as it is one of the most accessible jobs.

With all these injustices taking place, it is now time for people to take it upon themselves to be better consumers. I know that it might seem difficult at first, but as people who aren’t directly affected by these injustices, it is our responsibility to put a stop to them.

I know what it’s like to not be able to afford things. I grew up at the very bottom of the lower-middle class scale. While I didn’t grow up in poverty, I still didn’t have the luxury of shopping just anywhere I wanted. My family would budget how much we would spend on clothing and had to map out where we bought them. I would only buy new clothes once a year, right before school started.

As I grew to be an adult with my own means of income, I fell into the trap of fast fashion. I am a plus-sized girl and it is hard for me to find clothes that fit me and don’t range from $50 and up. These fast fashion places offer clothes that cater to me, and they’re well aware of who their audience is and how to take advantage of them.

We have to hold companies accountable for what they are doing to the environment and to those they employ. We need to get out of the mentality that we don’t have the power to put a stop to it because everyone else is going to continue. We have to share what they are doing and show them that their actions will affect their business.

Several companies have pledged to become more sustainable in their clothing making practices such as H&M and Levis after being called out for their practices, but it isn’t enough. It is important to continue to be vocal about the disapproval of these companies practices.

We must continue to hold these companies accountable and be vocal about what they are doing to the environment and other human beings. It is an individual’s responsibility to make themselves aware and become better consumers.

The next time you’re about to shop fast fashion, it is important to ask yourself, “Do I really need another pair of jeans?”