The Cost of Fast Fashion

The constant turn of new clothes has caused a massive footprint on the environment. Producing roughly 92 million metric tons of waste, 79 trillion liters of water per year and contributing to 2-8% of yearly global carbon emissions we are yet to see a decrease in the textiles industry’s output.

The average american purchases an article of clothing at an average rate of 5.5 days. While the fashion industry burns through resources, the consumer goes through clothes just as quick. However, the narrative tends to go that we as the consumer are the main issue and while we are partly responsible, the burden typically seems to lay on us rather than the source. That if we were to make the switch to buying only ethical brands or used clothing, then that would be the kick-off to change. While in the big picture, this would really only chip away at the bigger problem. The truth is, we can’t shop our way out of fast fashion. Even with the awareness of ethically based brands and alternatives, the true price of our clothes, especially cheap ones, are pushed on those stitching everything together in factories forced to endure harsh conditions and terrible pay. While this not only leads to dismal consequences for the factory floor but for the planet also.

The issue here doesn’t necessarily start at the consumer level but at production. Very reputable companies such as OTB, VF, and LVMH are some of the top companies in which they run and operate the narrative. While there are many types of small solutions that would contribute to the overall issue, at its core is where it would all begin. Adjusting and providing for the workers of these bigger companies would cause a shift at the corporate level, a cause and effect to the competition and profit model of capitalism. The call isn’t for a stop to an output of goods but rather a healthy output overall.

As done in the past, in the case for textile workers it was only when they would call for strikes and demands for better work conditions where these companies began to incorporate better overall standards. It’s the workers and consumers acting in solidarity by boycotting and supporting the demands of the people which fundamentally are successful at disrupting the flow of profits.

The issue only begins to be addressed by being aware of all these factors, the action and dependability relies on each of us.