Fast Fashion: What is it and why is it bad?
What’s the Rush?
The history of fast fashion dates way earlier than one might think. It can even be traced back to the Industrial Revolution’s introduction of machinery. The invention of the sewing machine was one of the factors that enabled fashion to increase its speed. However, the term is first used at the beginning of the 1990s by The New York Times, referring to Zara’s shockingly fast production model. In this model, Zara managed to design, produce and deliver its products to its customers within two weeks.
So what is fast fashion?
Fast fashion means rapid design, production, and delivery. The term “fast fashion” refers to garments that are produced and priced cheaply, which brings the end user a chance to experience the catwalk, but cheaper. In the past, the retailers’ understanding of seasons was in relation to the four actual seasons and the production was carried out in accordance with this. However, in today’s understanding of fashion, retailers bring new “seasons” much more frequently than that. The never-ending production of new clothing items, supported with rapidity created a consumer culture that encourages quantity over quality, which results in perceiving fashion as disposable.
Why is fast fashion bad?
Of course, this understanding creates a big mess in many ways. Fast fashion is fueled by mass production and the harms it causes are countless. The main problem that fast fashion created is this understanding because it works up all the other related problems.
- First of all, fast fashion creates a massive amount of textile waste. Since it is considered disposable by the consumer, each year an incredible amount of textile is discarded, causing an immense amount of textile waste. In the US only, the average amount of textile waste per person is roughly 35 kilograms. Apart from the textile waste that is created, the impact on the environment during the production phase is also enormous.
- Water consumption and water pollution are the other major impacts that fashion has on the environment. It is established that the fashion industry is the second-largest water-consuming industry in the world. It takes about 2500 liters of water to produce just one cotton t-shirt and 7500 liters to produce one pair of jeans. 1.5 trillion liters of water is used by the fashion industry each year. In addition to this waste, toxic water is dumped into natural water resources and contaminates them. 20% of industrial water pollution is caused by textile treatments and dyes used during production.
- Another factor that impacts the environment is less seen by the consumer. Since fast fashion uses cheap textiles, such as polyester, that can shed microfibers that get washed in our oceans. This contributes to the contamination and increases the amount of plastic in the water resources.
- Along with these, there is the immense need for energy that is required to produce these cheap fabrics and during the process of production, a lot of harmful gasses are released and intensifies the problem of carbon emissions.
- Lastly, since fast fashion requires fast production, the fashion industry workers are treated badly. They work long hours in horrible conditions with minimum pay. This is a huge problem since the approach towards these human beings is less than humane.
Considering these problems in the fashion industry, it is easy to see why slow fashion needs to become more widespread. As P.A.L. we see and understand these problems and we try our best to not contribute to them by recycling the water we use during production, using biodegradable materials, hand sewing our designs, and providing the best possible conditions to our employees. We believe our passion for fashion shouldn’t be harmful to our environment and we combine this passion with an ethical and eco-friendly approach during all of the phases of our creation process.