With an increasing number of fast fashion companies in the industry, their business model of mass-producing cheaply made, “of-the-moment” and affordably priced items has been questioned in the context of environmental sustainability. In order to cut production costs, these companies usually employ inexpensive synthetic textile fibres, which have taken up 60% of the garments found in fashion retail stores today, namely polyester and nylon. These fibres are non-biodegradable and require up to 200 years to decompose. These horrifying facts have made the fashion industry the second-largest polluter in the world, only after the oil industry. Mass production often results in overproduction and causes a large amount of excessive stock, which is either disposed in landfills or, even worse, burnt.
The fashion industry also causes microplastic pollution and water pollution when they use toxic chemicals during the manufacturing process.
To minimize production costs, fast-fashion companies manufacture their clothes in less-developed countries, such as China, Bangladesh and India, where the working conditions are terribly exploitative and the safety of workers is overlooked. Choosing unethical supplier factories that disregard basic human rights, fast-fashion companies should be held ultimately accountable for modern slavery.
Fast-fashion products, attached with a cheap price tag, make us some of the most impulsive shoppers in the world. We end up buying a lot of items that we don’t need. Not only does it mean wasting money on items that are not supposed to be worn often, it also consumes our minds with the invisible yet immense pressure of keeping up with the latest fast fashion trends.