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Fast Fashion | How does it affect the Planet?

Fast Fashion | India
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Fast Fashion is a collective term that describes the designing, manufacturing, and marketing of the latest and trendiest clothing designs in huge volumes. The collections are replicate fashion styles from the Fashion Week runway shows, or trends worn by celebrities. 

This practice allows consumers to purchase the newest trends at affordable prices as soon as possible.

Fast Fashion became popular because of two reasons:

  • cheaper, speedier production
  • a surge in customers’ demand for the newest styles and instant gratification desires.

This has caused overwhelming amounts of production and consumption.

According to Fast company; globally, clothing companies produce 53 million tons of clothes annually. If this exponential growth keeps up, the production is estimated to reach 160 million tons by 2050.

Some of the major players in this industry include big names like Zara, Macy’s, H&M, GAP, UNIQLO, Esprit, Forever 21, Shein, Boohoo, New Look, J.C. Penny, Topshop, etc.

The downside of Fast Fashion

Fast Fashion results in overproduction and overconsumption of articles. Since people want to buy the newest styles at their earliest availability, they dispose of their ‘old’ clothes faster. 

Impact on the Environment

The majority of these fashion articles are neither recycled nor donated, rather they are just dumped in landfills. This generates gigantic amounts of textile waste. A recent study estimates that impacts from the Fashion industry include:

  • over 92 million tonnes of waste produced per year, and
  • 1.5 trillion litres of water consumed.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body for the science related to climate change, claims that the textile industry causes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

This higher carbon footprint stems from high energy demands at every step of production, manufacture, and transportation of millions of garments every year.  

This industry uses more than 15,000 different chemicals. These agrochemicals leach into soil and water bodies where they cause a decrease in soil biodiversity and fertility, interrupt biological processes and pollute our oceans to no end.  

Human Rights Violations

The humanitarian crisis happening in the Fast Fashion industry is well highlighted in the documentary– The True Cost.  

Awfully long work hours, unfair wages, extremely hazardous working conditions, lack of resources, and mental and physical abuse are just some of the issues related to human rights violations in the Fast Fashion industry.

To Sum up

Fast Fashion has taken away a lot of creative, and personal aspects of fashion as a whole.  Although it offers attractive and cheap clothes, they certainly come at a huge price for the planet.


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