Fast Fashion in a Nutshell


Elliott Weix

The phrase “fast fashion” refers to an industry based on quick turnaround on new and/or popular clothing. Usually basing their manufacturing in nations with less protective labor laws, fast fashion producers quickly replicate newly-designed outfits at the cost of the environment and human rights. These industries are further fed by increasingly-ubiquitous online markets, such as Amazon. Combined with the incredibly low cost in manufacturing (garment workers, primarily women, are often paid well below a living wage) and cheap synthetic fabrics, fast fashion is more than happy to offer consumers five-dollar t-shirts.

Advocates for human rights and ethical production are calling out companies on their manufacturing processes. In the past few years, critics have used petitions and challenges such as “Post Your Lowest Wage” to raise awareness of the conditions that garment workers endure in order to eat. Yet others have connected the industry to environmental concerns, as filling landfills with fabrics—whether synthetic or organic—is a worrying source of pollution.

While shopping online for cheap clothing is certainly one way to save, going to a local thrift store or looking for other forms of hand-me-down clothes may prove to be more ethical alternatives than a quick search online. If you have clothes which you no longer want or need, consider donating them.