Con: Faulty Fast Fashion practices threaten environment

 

As we enter prom season, students may resort to fast fashion stores like Shein for their dresses where prices range from $20 to $30. But with access to trendier dresses at lower prices, is this too good to be true? 

Fast fashion is the practice of producing cheap and trendy clothes that is readily accessible and meets high consumer demand at fast rates. With constantly evolving fashion trends, apparel is discarded after a few uses allowing consumers to move on to the next trend to stay relevant and trendy. While fast fashion keeps us looking good at affordable prices, consumers need to realize it contributes to the ugly reality of overconsumption and heavy pollution. 

The fast fashion industry largely contributes to the world’s deteriorating environmental status since the textile industry is extremely polluting. It takes up to 200 tons of fresh water to dye and finish just one ton of fabric and the chemicals that are used are harmful to the environment since they run off into streams and bodies of water affecting the wildlife, according to Pebble Magazine. Not only that, but fast fashion contributes to 100 million tons of waste produced per year along with many other repercussions, according to Fashion Revolution

Fast fashion further encourages trends to move at rapid rates and enforces throw-away culture. According to an article by Nature, around 60 percent of all clothing produced is disposed of within the year of production. Trends are getting circulated faster because of social media, and in order to maintain individuality, these crazes are getting replaced faster each time. Factories keep up with this rapid change by producing clothing items at quicker rates which delivers lower quality items that are thrown away faster and fill up our landfills. According to The Ethical Consumer, a company can have an article of clothing designed, manufactured and on sale 10 days after being pictured on a celebrity. Viewers are eager to hop onto the biggest trends and many blame celebrities for the rise in disposable fashion. Fast fashion is made appealing due to many factors but this does not disregard the highly damaging effect it has on our planet. 

While some may argue that stores like Shein and Aliexpress are the only places they can afford, thrift shopping costs just as much or even less, plus allows you to support the planet through sustainable shopping. A vast amount of energy goes into clothing production, but through thrifting, you skip the excess waste of energy during the manufacturing process of new clothes. Similarly, clothes are made with synthetic and unnatural materials that do not degrade, so by donating your clothes they can be used by others which prolongs the life of the item and keeps it out of the landfill. Second-hand shopping is a simple and easy way to lower your carbon footprint while updating your wardrobe and supporting your community. Most thrift stores use their profits to better the community and support local charities, so instead of supporting big corporations like Shein who have unethical values, you can instead support a business that aims to support others. 

Shopping fast fashion negatively impacts our planet, but this all circles back to negatively impacting the consumer themself. Some ways we can collectively work against this is by shopping more ethically and making our existing clothing items last longer. This prom, try visiting your local thrift store or consignment store to shop for a unique or even vintage prom dress, helping you save money and our planet. No matter how you’d go about switching to a more sustainable fashion lifestyle, make sure you have fun with it as you go about this journey.

 

 

 

 

 


 

“Specifically within the past decade, the detriments of fast fashion have become more apparent, and require so much more attention if we want to slow overconsumption and subsequent climate change. We must utilize what is already in our closets, or if we want certain pieces, thrift. Not only is thrifting a great way to combat the fast fashion trend cycle, but it also allows its shoppers to develop a more unique and dynamic sense of style – not to mention how much money it saves. If a certain piece of clothing is no longer useful to you, donate it. There are so many great second hand stores in Orange County. Do your research, and shop responsibly.”

Lily Mathey, junior

 

“My concerns with fast fashion include the lack of consideration to what happens when you’re done with the product, but more to do with what went into making the item in the first place. One needs to also consider all the energy and resources that went into making the various fabrics that make up the garment.  We can think of simple items like a cotton shirt or basketball shorts- cotton uses a lot of water, but synthetic materials are made from petroleum products (and then there’s microplastics that these items dispense into the environment when they get washed which can adsorb toxic persistent pollutants). Additionally, there is the petroleum used to wrap each garment individually in plastic and for the transportation of the product to its final destination. I like to think of how many uses I’ll get from the item along with the aforementioned concerns when deciding if I want/need that next item of clothing.”

Bre Eagleson, science teacher