The unethical truth of fast fashion

Fast fashion can be described as the mass production of inexpensive clothing that is influenced by current fashion trends. Fast fashion has become a huge talking point in many environmental activist groups and anti-forced labor groups. Large companies such as Zara, H&M and Shein are examples of companies that use fast fashion and forced labor to manufacture their products.

This industry has wreaked havoc on the environment due to its high percentage of textile waste. According to the World Resources Institute, textile waste can take up to 200 years to decompose in landfills. Fast fashion also emits vast amounts of greenhouse gases and pollutes water supplies.
It’s the second-largest polluting industry in the world.

“Fast fashion is one of the many monsters slowly killing our planet,” junior Rania Harid said. “Only 20% of our clothes is recycled, so in the end, the excess from our mass-produced textiles heads straight to our land fills.”
The environment isn’t the only thing that is being affected by the fast fashion industry. It’s affected millions of women and children and has resulted in forced labor along with child labor.

Environmental and labor laws need to be put into place so that children aren’t susceptible to unethical labor conditions. These companies are so successful because not only is the cost of labor low, the cost of the materials is low as well.

Most laborers working in the fast fashion industry struggle to make $100 a month due to the low wages they are paid. These items that are produced are sold at a much more expensive price considering the cost of manufacturing can be a few cents or dollars per item.

There needs to be more consumer awareness regarding fast fashion because most people don’t even realize that when they support fast fashion companies they are also supporting unethical labor and the pollution of our environment.

As this industry continues to expand, the demand for workers in sweatshops and garment factories continues to increase.

The biggest problem is that countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and India don’t have enough regulations that protect children and women from forced labor. They don’t have enough regulation for environmental protection either. These countries have huge ties to the industry due to the lack of these protection laws.

Although fast fashion is a huge problem, we shouldn’t shame people for not being able to shop sustainably or ethically.
Fast fashion thrives off of people who cannot afford to buy clothes that are sustainably made because sustainable clothing brands often have more expensive items because they pay their laborers fairly.

So if you don’t want to support child labor, but you can’t afford to buy ethically made clothing what do you do?
Another option is buying clothing second-hand. Thrift shops are great places to buy clothes from if you don’t want to help fast fashion companies make a profit. Not only are thrift stores inexpensive, but you can find a variety of stylish clothing.

Buying second-hand is great for the environment, but the fashion industry is still full of people who are only after money.

Online second-hand shopping and selling have become a large part of the shopping industry.
A popular app known as Depop has become one of the biggest second-hand shopping apps on the internet.
Depop allows people all over the world to sell all kinds of clothing items. Recently, sellers on the app have been facing backlash because sellers will purchase low-cost items from thrift stores and will mark up the prices by hundreds of dollars to make a profit.

The problem here is obvious, but this essentially means that people who financially struggle and rely on thrift stores for clothes will struggle to find clothing that they like.

The high demand for these thrift stores has also led to thrift stores raising their prices.

“There are many alternatives to fast fashion like going to thrift stores, buying from small businesses or even recycling your old clothes. The fashion industry is composed of money hungry organizations that only care about their profit and benefits, but avoiding fast fashion is tricky and nearly impossible,” said Harid.

The sad truth is that most products that we own are products of child or forced labor, from our iPhones to our favorite pair of Nike shoes.

Shopping ethically simply isn’t an option for many people across the world, but we can still make efforts to help limit the effects of the fast fashion.

For starters, people should start cutting down on the number of clothes that they buy.

Ask yourself if you’ll wear the item you plan to buy at least 30 times. If you don’t plan on doing so, don’t buy it.
Also, invest in higher quality clothing that will last longer instead of spending your money on multiple low-quality items that will probably tear or fade after a few wears.

Lastly, don’t throw away your clothes. Consider donating, recycling, or repairing your old clothes.
This ensures that your clothes won’t be sitting in a landfill for the next 200 years.