Chasing trends: The Problem with Fast Fashion Today
Monday 11th February 2019 | Ana
Fast-fashion is a 21st-century issue and we believe shopping is the cure to any problem in our lives; whether a break-up or a promotion, we’ll find a reason to shop and the rate at which we chase trends has become problematic. From the overflowing landfills and unsafe working conditions down to the small British retailers closing down; our relationship with clothes has become a global problem.
Our relationship with clothes has become a global problem.
Fast fashion in the simplest of terms is the fast production and consumption of clothes. It allows stores to continuously sell high volumes of clothes for cheap prices, meaning the clothes which are made today are for today and not long-term wear.
The UK spends £27 billion on clothes each year.
The environmental and social impacts of fast-fashion have become such a current issue that governments can’t afford to turn their heads away from problem. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) have been speaking to various high-street and online fast-fashion retailers including Boohoo and ASOS to asses their awareness of the impact they are having in the sustainability crisis and evaluate their commitments to supporting initiatives.
The reason a sustainability problem still exists despite the clear efforts of organisations like EAC and brands to do better by us is because no matter how much they recycle at the end of the day they are still businesses putting profit over the environment.
Brands want to keep profits high and costs low, so producing at the lowest possible price is their goal. To afford this low-cost production, brands outsource to cheaper countries like Bangladesh and Ethiopia where the flexible regulations, cheap labour and affordable material weave a beneficial relationship: cheap production = higher sales.
The problem then arises, that clothes are too cheap. The clothes are so cheap that it is simply easier to buy a £2 Primark T-shirt and throw it away once a tiny hole appears rather than sewinng it back together neatly. The low prices of our clothes fuel our wasteful nature.
The low prices of our clothes fuel our wasteful nature.
According to the EAC, 235 million items of clothing are sent to landfill each year in the UK and 1.3 billion tons of carbon emissions are produced by the global fashion industry.
Are you, the individual to blame?
It is unfair to say that we are all responsible for the wasteful culture that we live in today, however to say that there's nothing we can do would be to look away and sweep it under the bulging rug of environmental issues we subconsciously ignore.
The solution is to take action in baby-steps by learning what it means to be a sustainable consumer in the 21st-century fast-fashion crisis.