The Impacts of Fast Fashion

Kenzie Grieger

Web Design GRDS 384

Spring 2023

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Topic Research

Learning Resources


Fast Fashion’s Effect on People, The Planet, and You | Patrick Woodyard | TEDxUniversityofMississippi

I Broke Up With Fast Fashion and You Should Too | Gabriella Smith | TEDxWynwoodWomen

What is Fast Fashion?

Definition: "Fast fashion is a design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing. Fast fashion garment production leverages trend replication and low-quality materials (like synthetic fabrics) in order to bring inexpensive styles to the end consumer." (The Good Trade)

Why is Fast Fashion Bad?

- Fabrics are made from fossil fuels, one of the laragest ecosystem polluter. (Eco-Stylist)

- Products made in bulk to achieve lower costs. (Eco-Stylist)

- "With clothing being so cheap, consumers are able to buy more. An entire industry surrounding seasonal trends has grown up, replacing a previous focus on quality and durability. Today, the average American purchases about 70 pieces of clothing each year, but spends less than 3.5% of its budget on clothes. Now only about 2% of clothes sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S. With such hunger from consumers for new items, fashion companies have moved from releasing clothes seasonally (four times a year) to a model of frequent releases, sometimes refreshing their stock on a weekly basis." (Treehugger)

- Cheap, trendy clothes are thrown away more and that leads to textile waste (17 million tons in 2018, 2.5 million were recycled). Pieces are hard to separate for proper recycling to be achieved. (Treehugger)

- "The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions each year, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation." This comes from transportation from factories to outlets. (Treehugger)

- Synthetic fabrics contain microplastics are tiny shreds make their way into the water which marine animals then digest. In addition, many dyes and chemicals for colors are toxic. (Treehugger)

- Factories where clothes are made are essentially sweatshops. Workers work long hours and receive low wages. Children are employed. These work environments lead to workers being exposed to chemicals and risk their safety. (Treehugger)

When Did Fast Fashion Become Popular?

- "If you've ever wondered when fashion trends began moving at a dizzying speed, it was the 1960s, as young people embraced cheaply made clothing to follow these new trends and reject the sartorial traditions of older generations." (Fashionista)

- "Although it is difficult to pinpoint the origins of fast fashion as we know it today, it's easy to understand how the phenomenon caught on. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it became increasingly more acceptable (and desirable) to flaunt one's love for low-cost fashion, and seen as especially savvy to be able to mix high and low fashion with aplomb." (Fashionista)

A List of a Few Brands Considered Fast Fashion

- Fashion Nova, one of the most promoted brands (good on you)

- Shein, one of the most promoted brands (good on you)

- Romwe (good on you)

- Brandy Melville (good on you)

- Missguided (good on you)

- Boohoo (Sustainably Chic)

- Forever 21 (Sustainably Chic)

- Zara (Sustainably Chic)

- Temu ZD Net

(Minimalism Made Simple)

How to Spot a Fast Fashion Brand (good on you)

- Very frequent releases

- Trendy clothing

- Short turnaround brtween catwalk trend and a replica being made

- Cheap, low-quality material

- Prices of pieces are low

Rise of Influencers and Fast Fashion

- Fast fashion companies, like Shein and Fashion Nova, pay influencers and celebrities to wear and promote their products. Often they share discount codes. The larger the audience means more people shopping from these brands. (HuffPost)

How to Shop Opposite (a.k.a Slow Fashion)

- “Slow fashion is a glimpse of a different—and more sustainable—future for the textile and clothing sector and an opportunity for business to be done in a way that respects workers, environment and consumers in equal measure,” Fletcher writes. “Such a future is but a garment away. When shopping, try to consider quality over quantity and timelessness over trendiness." (Treehugger)

- Buy secondhand, repair damaged clothes, care for your current clothes, or donate clothing. (Treehugger)

A List of a Few Sustainable Fashion Brands

- Pact (Sustainably Chic)

- Tamga (Sustainably Chic)

- Made Trade (Sustainably Chic)

- Colorful Standard (Sustainably Chic)

- Happy Earth (Sustainably Chic)

- Everlane (CNN)

- Patagonia (CNN)

Other Sustainable Ways of Shopping for Clothes (EcoWatch)

- ThredUP (an online consignment shop)

- Poshmark (thrifting app)

- Depop (thrifting app)

The Understandable Reason to Shop Fast Fashion (Sustainable Fashion Forum)

- Not everyone can afford more expensive clothes, so it's more affordable

- Many fast fashion brands are online created convience

- Some people want to dress in current trends which fast fashion brands are very quick to produce