Fast Fashion: Is it helping or hurting us?

Due to a concept called fast fashion, the fashion world is rapidly changing with new trends emerging every day and selling for extremely cheap prices. Recently, people have engaged in a global debate on whether or not fast fashion is helpful or harmful for society. Many people find fast fashion labor-intensive and pollutive to the Earth, while others believe that fast fashion helps grow our economy. 

Fast fashion has gradually grown to play a major role in our society; however, as this trend began to grow, people started to realize its damaging effects. When large manufacturing companies and chains began mass production of clothing to meet trend demands, pollution levels increased. 

“Fashion—a $2.5 trillion sector—is the second most polluting industry on Earth, right behind oil. The pressure to reduce costs and speed up production time means that environmental corners are cut in the name of profit,” the Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) says. 

Companies no longer care about the effect they have on the environment, only about how much they’re profiting off of it. “I oppose fast fashion because it is known for producing large amounts of clothing… that is known to harm the environment. It is also common that fast fashion brands use children to make their clothes, as well as underpay most employees. Typically, these brands produce items that are bad quality and do not last long,” senior, Lexi Gergel said. 

Gergel also stated how fast fashion is becoming harmful on a large scale, as many of the most popular clothing companies contribute to the trend in some way, therefore contributing to the harmful environmental consequences. 

Companies are causing large factories to build up chemicals and release them into the air.  “Pollution…in the air is dangerous no matter where it comes from, but all the chemicals from dying clothes and fabrics are causing damage” Gergel notes. 

Although fast fashion does have its downsides, many people believe that there are some benefits to it.

GlobalEDGE, also known as for their global business knowledge, says,

“The benefits of fast fashion are clear: more consumer spending, more profits, and the consumer satisfaction of being able to participate in a trend almost immediately after they see it in magazines or on their favorite celebrities.” “Best fashion allows for high demand of product and continuous evolution of clothes. In an ever-changing world there is always a need for new and exciting clothing choices,” senior Hailey Giordani notes. 

The increased use of fast fashion is indeed creating trend after trend, which is resulting in mass production and consumption of clothing, helping companies to grow along with the economy. Fast fashion can also give back to the world. 

“I support any fast-fashion company that is willing to give back to the community. Many companies have programs that will take clothes and donate them to special causes, therefore reducing the effects of fast fashion,” Giordani says. 

Companies can do this by creating thrift stores. Allowing people to donate clothes and creating the opportunity to buy reused ones in stores are helping reduce the less eco-friendly cycle of fast fashion. Despite all these benefits, the answer is simple: fast fashion is not helping us. 

This new production trend is deteriorating our planet. With the large amounts of clothing being produced, the environment cannot keep up. The risks fast fashion poses to Earth are not worth the cheap, trendy clothes being made by huge chain businesses. 

“To avoid fast fashion, I shop from stores that are not large chains. Local boutiques and smaller companies produce clothing that is similar without doing as much damage to the environment and community,” Gergel says. 

Fast fashion is not the only option out there, as there are many alternatives to fast fashion like Gergel mentioned, and it certainly isn’t the one we should choose. The pros do not weigh out the cons of fast fashion when it is destroying the environment and starting the timer on how long planet Earth can sustain human life.

Sources: bwss.org, globaledge.msu.edu

Photo: planetaid.org