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9 March 2021 | 5 min read

What Is Fast Fashion And Reason To Avoid It

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After food, the world is always hungry for fashion. To feed these hunger pangs, fashion brands constantly overstock their stores and fill shopper’s stomach and fancies. The next step is as casual as every shopper quickly throwing their collection away to make space for the next batch. This is the loop of fast fashion. 

What is Fast Fashion?

If you’ve bought a dress for INR 700 or less, you’ve invariably been a contributor to fast fashion and its dangers. Not sure what this means? Buying clothes from Zara, H&M, and Forever21 makes you an indirect part of major environmental and societal issues. Fashion is responsible for 4% of global waste and 10% of all carbon emissions. This might seem minuscule, but that makes it the world’s 2nd -largest polluter, after petrol. Yup, that’s not a fun fact!

Essentially, in the name of sustainability and ethical corporate policies, large companies continue to produce heart-wrenching levels of ‘disposable fashion’. However, most of this ends up as textile waste in already overfull landfill sites. On the other hand, these trendy and cheaply produced pieces have attracted enormous amounts of shoppers. Unfortunately, this impacts the environment, garment workers, and, ultimately, the shopper’s wallets impactfully. 

It won’t be easy to wholesomely eradicate fast fashion out of the picture since everyone is accustomed to cheaply priced fast-moving-trends by trust-worthy brands, but we could always compel ourselves to live a conscious lifestyle. Technically, no industry benefits from our ‘throwaway culture’ more than fast fashion. That’s why buying carefully, and only what we need, can be a powerful act of environmentalism. 

Here are 5 Strong Reasons to Avoid Fast Fashion

1. You will save more money in time

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Have you ever wondered why some clothes are wearable even 30 years later and why the rest get spoilt in no time? Here’s the difference. Some boots, jeans, and jackets dwell from brands that our parents highly trust because of their lifelong wearability and pure durability. Some even offer returns, repairs and after-sale services like exchanges to help maintain garments. Some brands that care provide DIY repair kits or tips.  

Can you imagine the money saved from not having to re-spend on clothes again and again? This way, you get to reinvest in doing other things you love, like learning a new skill or even repairing your current clothes. If your 10-year-old pair of shoes still fit you, why not enjoy a twirl in them? 

2. You can own long-lasting clothes

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That dress you thought looked awesome in July might not be wearable by next summer. Here’s why – In most highly populated countries, big brands quickly get away paying small manufacturing amounts compared to their retail prices. It’s easy for them to be unsustainable since they are far away from shoppers’ scrutiny. Moreover, the fashion industry largely relies on outsourcing labour to poverty-stricken communities. This way, their costs are low, and selling profits are high. 

So, how do you benefit? Here’s the vicious cycle, fast fashion producers barely invest in profitable quality workforces and textiles, making their garments fall apart faster, and the shoppers have to replenish their wardrobes even quicker. Hence, by targeting short-lived fashion trends, fast fashion brands ensure that their garments can only be worn a couple of times. To conclude, the quality of the garment creates a confident attitude in the shopper. This attitude can only be changed, and your clothes can only last longer if you don’t indulge in fast fashion. 

3. Reduce Overall Environmental Pollution

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Since fast fashion brands heavily implement cost-cutting, their production enables water pollution, toxic chemicals, and textile waste. The same effect is caused by people throwing away their clothes as well. On the whole, it’s extremely harmful and sometimes deadly for animals. 

Most garments (especially fast fashion editions) are made of inexpensive, petroleum-based fibres that are very difficult to decompose. Example: Polyester, Nylon, and Acrylic. They’re usually taken to the landfill space for decades thereon. As the author of Fast Fashion book points out, people generally recycle plastic bottles or avoid buying them first, but people are pretty happy with buying lots of plastic clothing. 

Not convinced yet? Here’s shooting some facts at you: 

  • Globally, 85% of clothes are sent to landfills every year, emitting methane (a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon) for the 200-years they sit to decompose. 
  • It takes around 10 – 20,000 litres of water to produce a kilo of cotton

Fabric production is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution annually.

4. Your clothes can be worn by the next generation

old clothes  – Live More Zone

Most of us have an emotional attachment to some of the other clothing items because our parents passed them down to us. This is because they can last 20-30 years. How do you think that is even possible? The usage of NO fast fashion, of course. 

It builds a sense of comfort and pride to wear something that trickles down from a family tree and holds so much character. Moreover, you can style the same thing in your modern contemporary styles and make it look different each time you wear them. Some precious garments like wedding outfits can be around for longer than you have. With fast fashion, none of these emotional connects can survive. Such moments bring everyone closer to each other and eradicate the notions of generation gaps. Maintain the preciousness by not following fast fashion. 

5. Live a Conscious life

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As humanitarians, it’s hard to live a peaceful life knowing that the clothes you buy and discard so quickly have many employees being illtreated for producing them. Not just that, the familiar stories of their employees being put in neglecting working conditions or cutting their pay to maximise profits is merely brutal. In addition to the magnanimous amounts of textile waste associated with this industry, it’s evident to figure where the road to fast fashion industry is leading us. Make your choice!

What should we do to avoid fast fashion?

Words can never be enough, and passing petitions or sharing articles can only take us so far, right? The best and only thing to do besides spreading awareness is to lead by example and participate with your pocket full of conscious decisions. Instead of supporting the big brands that follow unethical practices, try and source your fashionable trends from other small scale and comparatively ethical brands. Meanwhile, also consider substituting your current garments with sustainable fabrics. 

Lastly, you can also choose to shop from charity or second-hand shops. These days thrift collections and backyard sales are popular online as well. This will make you support the right people as well as charities, rather than unsustainable fashion practices.

Always remember: Avoiding fast fashion will not only be kind by heart but will also be kind to your skin and the planet, all at the same time.

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