You may not know the term fast fashion, and you may be asking what is fast fashion, and even if you don’t realize it, you know it all too well. That trendy $34.99 sequin top in the back of your closet is convenient, you wore it once, and it was inexpensive but, you probably won’t get more than three uses out of it. Fast fashion is the inexpensive, on trend, accessible clothes that are taking over wardrobes. These clothes do not last long but consumers continue to buy fast fashion even though it is known the quality is cheap and the trend will go out of style.
Although a couple of cheap shirts may seem harmless, fast fashion is damaging the earth in extreme ways. These companies are churning out millions and millions of products daily. Each step through the manufacturing of a piece of clothing requires ample water, chemicals, machinery and human labor.
To put fast fashion water usage in perspective, as mentioned by, the World Resource Institute, “About 20 percent of industrial water pollution is due to garment manufacturing, while the world uses 5 trillion liters (1.3 trillion gallons) of water each year for fabric dyeing alone, enough to fill 2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools”. 2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools could be filled annually and that is just from the fabric dying part of the process. And, as you can probably guess, these factories creating millions of products a day, probably don’t have ethical conditions for their garment workers. The unsafe conditions of the workers is also an effect of fast fashion. These factories are operating at an aggressive rate requiring copious amounts of resources.
And the fashion industry is not expected to slow down anytime soon, with the water usage only increasing. As consumers of the fashion industry, we have the power to make purchasing decisions to support sustainable fashion companies and slow down fashion.