Shopping clothes become something that you do very often right? You buy things when the weather changes, or when you need a certain outfit to attend important events, or simply you are a shopaholic, you buy clothes because you like. But about 20 years ago, some things changed.
Clothing became cheaper, the fashion cycle changed quickly, and shopping became a form of entertainment. Welcome to fast fashion, a large fashion chain that has dominated the streets and online. But what is fast fashion and how does it affect humans and the earth?
Everything is going so well, fashionable clothes you can buy for the best price, wear it once and then throw it away. Suddenly, people can buy their favorite dress for 5 times cheaper. In 2013, the whole world learned the truth when a clothing factory, Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed, more than 1,000 people died. That is when people think about fast fashion and wonder what the true price of these cheap shirts is.
So, what exactly is fast fashion?
Fast fashion considered fashionable clothes, trendy, with very cheap prices. May be inspired by items on the runway, or celeb styles. Then sold in many shops on the street by familiar brands with very fast production speed.
How did fast fashion come to life?
To understand how fast fashion was born, we have to go back to history a bit. Before the 1800s, fashion was produced very slowly. You have to pick out materials like leather or wool, then prepare by knitting them and finally wearing clothes.
The Industrial Revolution event introduced new technologies, more specifically the introduction of sewing machines. Producing clothes becomes cheaper, easier, and a lot faster. Clothing stores started appearing to cater to the middle class.
Very tailor shops hire a group of tailors to work at home or sewing at home. Around this time, sweatshops appeared, accompanied by labor safety issues. Sweatshop is known as a “sweatshop” because this is a factory that exploits the labor of the people very badly. The first event that made a bad reputation for a series of sweatshops was the fire at a home in New York in 1911. The incident claimed the lives of 146 workers, among them young women and immigrants.
In the 1960s and 70s, young people established new trends and clothing became something to express personal feelings. In the late 1990s and 2000s. Cheap fashion hits its peak, fast fashion boutiques like H&M, Zara, and Topshop appear a lot on the streets. These brands use the designs of other luxury brands and produce them faster and launch them to the market at a much cheaper price.
What is the impact of fast fashion?
Fast fashion has a great influence around the globe. Negative effects of fast fashion include the use of cheap and toxic fabric dyes. The fashion industry is the second factor that causes pollution of clean water in the world, behind farming agriculture.
According to statistics, 10% of the carbon released into the air comes from the fashion industry. Cheap fabrics also increase the influence of fast fashion. Polyester is one of the most popular fabrics, because it is cheap, highly flexible, and not prone to wrinkles. The use of polyester contributes to global warming, when washing, produces microfiber fibers that increase the index of plastics (plastics) in seawater, harm marine life and adversely affect our food sources. Clothing made from polyester will take more than 200 years to decompose. The speed with which clothes are produced quickly means that the rate at which clothing can no longer be worn and discarded will increase.
Along with the impact on the environment, fast fashion also affects people, especially those working in sweatshops. Unsafe work environment, very low wages, and no guarantee of personal rights are what the people in sweatshop suffer.
Finally, fast fashion will also affect consumers. It makes us feel that we need to keep up with new trends, creating a constant desire for new clothes. So be a smart consumer.