What's the problem with fast fashion anyway?

There are so many people talking about sustainable clothing and boycotting fast fashion, but what exactly does this mean? What is fast fashion? Whats the problem with it? Well if you are interested in finding the answer this may be the blog post for you!

Thirty years ago, the fashion world was very different; there were only a few high-street stores and buying an item of clothing was a luxury. People waited in earnest for the arrival of the new collections from Chanel, Vivien Westwood, Prada and Gucci. New collections have released a maximum of four times a year following the cycle of the seasons. An update to a wardrobe was a carefully selected treat designed to last, using quality fabric and manufacturing.
Now there are 52 micro-seasons of rapidly cycling low-cost clothing, people buy new clothes everytime they have an event. Wow, that's great isn't it because now we can afford loads of clothes! Not really... this system is called fast fashion and mimics the catwalk trends providing us all with cheap versions of the carefully crafted and designed collections that were so out of reach before. However, the result of this 'democratising' of the fashion system has resulted in large-scale social environmental and economic issues.  This is why people are now choosing to boycott fast fashion because of the problems associated with its production.  Some of these problems are listed below and I have divided them up into three categories because there are so many issues. 

Problems for the consumer:

1. High cost! the money we spend on clothes could be going towards a deposit for a house.

2. Pesticides and chemicals from none organic clothing leaching into our skin.

3. Endocrine disruption from synthetic fabric.

4. A constant feeling of pressure to look a certain way and never having anything to wear. 

5. Low-quality goods that break easily.

6. Loss of style.

Problems for the workers and country of manufacture:

1. Low wages and an inability to work their way out of poverty.

2. Unsafe working conditions and long hours.

3. Exposure to deadly chemicals that make them and their children sick.

4. Vulnerability to verbal physical and sexual abuse.

5. These companies are so big they have huge political power in their host country, stopping political change.

6. If workers complain the companies can threaten to move to cheaper countries like H&M are moving from Bangladesh to Ethiopia because of all the media attention.

7. Farmer suicides because of debt.

Environmental problems:

1. Destruction of biodiversity and the chopping down of the jungle to grow cotton.

2. Spraying of herbicides and pesticides killing animals and insects.

3. Soil and water contamination with toxic chemicals.

4. Huge amounts of water being used up, it takes 2700L of water to make one t-shirt

5. Fossil water use.

6. Slaughter of animals for fur and leather

7. Air pollution from factories.

8. Transportation pollution from deliveries and shipping fabric.

9. Most fabrics cant break down and as they are left rotting in rubbish dumps they release methane into the atmosphere.

These are just the issues I know are associated with the fast fashion system and it is these issues that led me to decide to boycott all fast fashion brands. It is definitely a journey and obviously, we all slip up sometimes or see something that we really want and that's fine. 

I think the most important thing is that we change our mindset from one where we see clothes as something disposable to something special to be treasured. When we look at our favourite t-shirt we should look beyond how it looks and see the people who farmed the cotton, the 2700L of water that it took to grow the cotton, the people that sewed it for us and its journey across the world to reach us and make us happy.

I hope you all enjoyed my blog post, I wanted to write something quite short that summarised and simplified the problems with fast fashion because it is such a big topic. :)

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