The Impact of Fast Fashion
Think about your Instagram feed for a second: Have you posted any 2 pictures wearing the same outfit? Chances are you haven’t, but it is not your fault. This is the effect of a trend that has seen rapid growth over the past 21 years, known as Fast Fashion, that has become popular recently because of its cheap cost and fast distribution. Fast Fashion is the process of taking a garment from planning to consumers in under 15 days and is used by companies like Zara, one of the most well known fast fashion brands along with Shein, H&M, Fashion Nova and many more. This means that there are 2 new entire collections of clothes per store per month, which would be impossible without a large number of workers and an unethically fast disposal of clothes only worn once.
A vast majority of workers under these Fast Fashion brands do not make living wages, work excessive hours, all while in highly unsafe establishments, referred to as sweatshops. According to UNICEF, 170 million children are employed in the garment industry, because they simply have no choice but to work any job they can get. Women and children from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Pakistan, China, and more lack education and are compliant because they need the money and don’t know who to contact to report the inhumane working conditions. 93% of brands say they are not paying their workers a living wage, but how little they are paid is beyond shocking. In China, the wage starts at $161 a month, in India $102 a month, and the situation in Bangladesh is the most painful at $42. A. Month. Comparatively, garment workers in Canada make around $16 an hour. The workers have to work long 12 hour shifts, often with no paid overtime, working late hours of the night effectively making it impossible for those kids to attend school. The working conditions are far from safe and that was clear to the entire industry after the Rana Plaza Collapse (read more at https://growensemble.com/rana-plaza/). Essentially, it was a terrible accident due to employer negligence and led to the death of thousands of workers.
Furthermore, Fast Fashion has a negative effect on the environment because most of the clothes are made from cheap synthetics such as polyester, acrylic and nylon – all created using fossil fuels, If that is not bad enough, none of them are biodegradable, meaning the clothes people discard so frequently will pile up on the earth for hundreds of years to come.
Fast Fashion cannot be the future. With it, there will be no future at all for those women, kids, or the earth we call home.
By Ekjot Sahota