Fast Fashion; something to not put on your Christmas list


Lily Poteet, Ranger Review Reporter

As Christmas slowly creeps upon teens and young adults across the nation, the guilt of whether or not to buy fast fashion also lures upon the hearts of buyers pondering on the idea of buying into the all-consuming clothing phenomenon.

Fast fashion is defined as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends” according to Webster Dictionary. As said by Eric Ritter, a renowned designer and owner of sustainable high fashion brand, Emergency Room, “The industrialization and globalization of production and the economy enable multinational companies to produce in one country and sell in another,” which is how countries are able to produce large quantities of textiles to then contribute to fast fashion.

Whilst buying a couple things on Shein, a fast fashion retailer from time to time might not seem like a high price for anyone, the long term costs are the components that add up to create a total problem for humankind.

The controversy comes with the fact that the employees producing the clothing for brands such as Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters, are working in terrible conditions. Sustain your style, an activist website in favor of sustainable fashion, emphasizes that the staff works an average of 15 hour days being paid one fifth of the salary for a decent living wage. Not to mention that the unsafe environments provide no little to no ventilation. Thus allowing toxic airflow and fiber dust to travel through workers’ lungs, potentially leaving permanent health damage.

Governments of underdeveloped countries use these factories as a way to make profit. The workers are getting paid little to nothing and name-brand fast fashion institutes pay big money to keep production of garments flowing from these manufactories. 

United Nations Figures states that it takes almost 8000 gallons of water to make one singular pair of jeans. After a couple of months of wearing the trousers, they are thrown into a landfill along with the 21 billion tons of discarded clothing. It’s no doubt that fast fashion is a primary patron to pollution among the planet.

The combination of factors from these questionable contributors make it seem like these factories are inhumane, but countries that benefit from the mills twist the law to allow the moneymakers to be within the official guidelines.

“The problem is that they, [the workers], are not the people who choose the minimum wage – it’s the governments of those countries. You can’t tell these brands they aren’t doing it properly because on paper they are abiding by all the rules. So really it’s just about morals. But it’s very difficult to regulate that,” said Ritter.

So when determining the next thing you might inscribe on that winter wishlist, consider the long-term effects that not only you, but what others might experience based on placing the order to a fast-fashion retailer. Is it really worth the suffering of those who sewed for a 15 hour day? Is it just another piece of clothing, sitting in the closet, waiting to be worn? Sustainability will pat you on the back and thank you after crossing out the finds from a fast-fashion company. The rest of the world will thank you too.