We’ve all been there: you have an event fast approaching, feel like you have nothing in your closet to wear so you turn to your favorite fast fashion brand to save the day—and save some coins. Same, sis. Many times. Over the last few years, many affordable and quick solutions to fashion emergencies have sprung up all over the internet. They allow for us to briefly and regularly switch up our looks and provide us with the freedom to change our minds without wasting too much money. But they don’t cut costs in other ways. By definition, fast fashion refers to brands that produce high volumes of clothing throughout the year. Brands are able to make clothes at a fraction of the price they used to; therefore, overproduction has taken off causing increased labor and waste. They often offer very cheap prices and are pretty tight-lipped on how and where their clothes are produced. Now, it may not be in your budget to completely cut out fast fashion houses from your shopping experience but here are a few reasons why you should, definitely, cut back.
PFCs are a family of man-made, fluorine-containing chemicals with unique properties to make materials stain resistant and waterproof. They are often used in high volume to keep your clothes in safe condition on their way to you. The problem is, these chemicals do not break down easily and can remain in the environment for hundreds of years. Fast fashion brands can use PFCs in surplus, strictly due to the amount of products they churn out daily.
Questionable labor practices.
In order for a company to keep their prices low, sometimes, they will exploit the labor of individuals living in highly impoverished areas. Child and forced labor is definitely a cause for concern when it comes to the sheer volume of clothing being made and shipped. Many companies have come under fire for failing to pay their garment workers a living wage and women workers can suffer physical and sexual abuse in many warehouses.
Stealing from smaller brands.
Because of their need to stay on trend, fast fashion brands often lack the time to come up with creative ideas. Instead, they turn to the work of lesser known small brands, recreate their designs and sell them at a fraction of the cost—taking valuable dollars away from up and coming designers.
So many clothes end up burned and the process of getting rid of unwanted garments emits a ton of hazardous gas into the atmosphere contributing to negative air quality across the globe. The groups like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition have sprung up in order to encourage brands to be more sustainable, there is still a huge gap in terms of supply and demand that keeps most companies from truly going green.
Due to the cheap price tag many brands offer, consumers are a lot less likely to keep their clothes for long periods of time, mostly, because they can’t. The clothes are not meant to last and often quickly deteriorate causing them to need to be replaced by others. That is what fast fashion brands want; for customers to come back as often as possible. This practice causes textile waste to increase—each American is currently contributing about 82 pounds of it yearly.
Dangerous chemicals in clothing.
Though most clothes are treated with chemicals unless they are organic, clothes from fast fashion brands can have some of the most dangerous. Formaldehyde is one that is commonly used to make clothes wrinkle-resistant but is a known respiratory and skin irritant. Even if you cannot go completely organic with your clothing, it is a good idea to wash them before wearing them—regardless of which brand they come from.
You deserve nice things.
Even though it may be tempting to collect a bunch of things you can easily dispose of, thinking of more long-term fashion investments may be helpful. Different styles are always being recycled and quality clothing can be kept to pass down to younger family members, children, mentees and those in need.