The fast fashion industry problem has reached a whole new level for the whole of mankind, animals, and our planet. People often do not take fashion products seriously as a significant pollutant. But as a matter of fact, the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world.
As the industry is growing rapidly, environmental damage is also increasing at a dangerous pace.
However, eco-conscious consumers and manufacturers are trying for alternate solutions to fix this issue. But the threat is hard to get over until people become aware and willing to foster the change.
Fast fashion refers to affordable, stylish, mass-produced clothes that are easily accessible everywhere on the planet. The fast fashion industry is often concerned with mindless production by companies and overconsumption by consumers.
Industries try to sell as many products as possible. It makes up a whole mix of designing, manufacturing, and marketing methods focus on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing. The main purpose remains to make out most of the profit they can.
How does fast fashion work?
The fast fashion industry works on profit base production. They use low-quality materials and high-innovative ways to produce relevant items. Whenever a new trend comes into the market, the producers become keen on producing stocks to bring inexpensive styles to the public.
They give contracts to overseas workers to give them the complete stock within time. When the stock comes out, the fashion-conscious shops become more than desperate to hang those style stuff on their display line.
These garments appeal to consumers because they are cheap, trendy, and look relevant. But the fast-fashion brands do not design their clothing to last, neither the consumers expect it to go long. Hence, they quickly go out of style, and a new trend appears.
Once the trend is off-set, consumers quickly discard these clothes and look forward to buying new trendy things. As the new fashion cycle begins, the old fashion products become irrelevant and they end piling up in landfills.
Characteristics of fast fashion:
- Mass-production of fashion products with thousands of styles.
- Complex supply chains having poor visibility into the production and distribution strategy.
- Making workers do hard labor on low wages without adequate rights or safety
- The short lifetime of garments that degrade after just a few wears.
- Low-quality materials that have a negative environmental and ethical impact
Why is fast fashion bad?
Fast fashion is well gratified to have detrimental effects on the whole planet. It is the most unethical and unsustainable practice in today’s world. Although, consumers enjoy these newly manufactured pieces and revel in their buzz.
The fast fashion problem is the production of these quick low-quality products and is the leading cause of textile waste, which degrades the living conditions on this planet.
First, the production leaves leftover materials of fabrics, paper, thread, etc., to go waste. Then the buzzing trend of fast fashion cycles results in overwhelming amounts of consumption. These products also end up in landfills.
The main issue is that fast fashion products don’t play with the sustainability rules. The practices involved in the fast fashion industry overexploit the people, resources, and the environment.
There are too many issues rolled up with this fashion form, and all of them never miss to take their toll on the planet.
What are the fast fashion industry problem?
There is a huge number of fast fashion problem that come up and have ethical concerns, global issues, and environmental impacts. Below are a few of the many issues that are associated with the fast fashion industry:
Overflowing landfills and textile waste
The main cause of the overflowing landfills at the various places on this planet is the excessive amount of waste produced in the textile industry. There are two types of textile waste. One is pre-consumer textile waste, and the other is post-consumer textile waste.
The pre-consumer textile waste is that which the fashion cycle generates at the time of production. When the fashion producers work on sourcing, designing, and mass-producing the products, the waste materials also generate massive amounts.
Pre-consumer textile waste includes textile scraps, left fabrics, threads, and so on. On the other hand, post-consumer textile waste generates by overconsumption of products. After a few times of use, consumers buy them in numbers and throw them away in the trash that goes to landfills.
The required brands use synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and acrylic, which take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Once they go to landfills, they are stuck there for decades, which only pollutes the environment.
The procedure of making plastic fibers into textiles is an energy extensive process. It requires large amounts of energy sources and releases volatile particulate matter and acids like hydrogen chloride into the atmosphere.
The industry often discharges untreated toxic textile wastewaters in clean water bodies. These wastewaters contain toxic dyes, chemicals, heavy metals, microplastics, etc. These harmful effluents degrade aquatic life and also affect the health of people living nearby.
Besides the excess bulk of waste in landfills, fast fashion also impacts the environment by carbon emissions. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the fast fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions each year.
It occurs almost at every stage of the fashion cycle. The industry production also releases a wide range of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming.
Resource exploitation and violating workers’ rights
The fashion industry is a major water consumer and resource exploiter. Since the producers focus on mass production, they overuse the resources and degrade most of them into waste.
They degrade the land, air, and water and threaten the environment. Besides, the industry is also harmful to its workers. The workers’ safety and rights are not one of the major concerns of the producers.
Laborers have to work in unsafe conditions for low wages and long hours. In many cases, abuse at the workplace and child labor are also concerned. Further, working in dangerous environments without ethical providing has devastating impacts on their physical and mental health.
Every single process of the fast fashion industry results in the devastation of the environment, violation of human rights, and degradation of the planet. It only makes our present conditions worse. Hence, we need to move towards sustainable and ethical practices to last long on this planet.