Meaning of Fast Fashion
“An approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.” – Merriam Webster
We can say that the term Fast Fashion means producing unsustainable apparels at a rapid rate in response to the latest trends.
The apparel produced with the influence of Fast Fashion is usually cheap and trendy, and their consumers have the demand of high fashion at a low cost. This demand is mainly created by the fashion retailers of popular millennial brands to increase their sales and ultimately their profits.
How did Fast Fashion start?
Fast Fashion was present in the world since very beginning but its ways have been reformed since the Industrial Revolution. The invention of sewing machine and other machinery for rapid production of clothes are all a part of Fast Fashion. It has been emerged from the extraction of raw materials to produce the textile with hand to the machinery of today’s generation with skilled laborers.
Fashion till mid twentieth century was considered as a luxury, thus the industry focused on four main seasons fall, winter, spring and summer. The designers would plan about their upcoming clothing line way before the season arrived; although this was methodical it is still followed with two seasons Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer.
Fast Fashion hit its peak after the “boho-chic” wave came in vogue during the mid-2000s.
How is it done?
The retailers in the market helps in producing the textiles and materials which are cost efficient. Thereafter, the skilled labor work to produce the designs from the catwalk to all over the market. This is a simple yet a complicated process that needs a good sense of fashion.
There is also a supply chain management among all the fashion retailers of the market. This management system connects the producer and the consumer.
Generally, Marketing is done by producing new styles of clothes at low and affordable rates. The rates attract the consumer more than anything. This also increases the brand awareness among the people. The manufacturers divide the production of certain fashion trends according to a span of little time such as seasons or occasions. This attracts the consumers to fulfill their needs according to the time. Plus, great events and fashion shows are organised so that people can be acquainted with the latest fashion styles.
What is the impact of Fast Fashion?
To understand the impact of Fast Fashion, let’s get some context on how these clothes are made.
These big fashion retailers use sweatshops, large factories with hundreds of workers. These sweatshops are mainly located in underdeveloped countries like Bangladesh, where the factories have poor working conditions. The workers are forced to work for seven days a week and given negligible wages. With such a low budget, the factory management is equally poor resulting to casualties like fire breaks in the factory. Since 1990, there have been more than 400 deaths due to such casualties in these sweatshops. The women workers are constant targets of discrimination and sexual harassment.
Apart from this labor exploitation, it has proved to be an environmental hazard as well. This rapid apparel production and unregulated factories have increased the use of toxic chemicals to make their clothes look vibrant.
These sweatshop industries emit the greenhouse gases which are equal to gases released during international shipping and aviation combined. It is reported that 10% of the global carbon print is due to such sweatshop industries.
Is it sustainable?
Fast Fashion does not approve of sustainability. This is because it does not think of future consequences. It works on the short term goal basis, in which the clothes are produced, bought and sold in the market, and then finally discarded. It does not help our environment in any positive way. Instead, it uses our resources more rapidly than any other industry.
Measures to control Fast Fashion
Here are some of the measures through which you can prevent yourself from being a victim of Fast Fashion-
- Research about brands: There are many brands who have come up to be environmentally-friendly and have production process that is more sustainable.
- Rent outfits: There is no compulsion to always own the piece of clothing that you post about on Instagram. Such retailer’s main seasons are during festivals; try to rent your clothes during such times. In this way, your wardrobe seems “updated” and you don’t harm the environment.
- Thrift stores: There are many charity shops or vintage shops that are available in many cities. Buying such vintage clothes, try to put “slow fashion” is in vogue.
- Focus on buying organic fabric clothes: Try to research about brands which sell clothes made up of organic fabrics.
To know about Fast Fashion brands, you can click here.