Fast fashion refers to clothing that is produced quickly and inexpensively in response to the most recent trends. These garments are often of lesser quality and are intended to be worn only briefly before being discarded.
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Fast fashion is bad for the environment
The rapid production and disposal of fast fashion can have several negative effects on the environment and on the people who wear the clothing.
One of the main environmental concerns with fast fashion is the amount of water and other resources that are required to produce clothing. For example, it can take more than 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans, and the fashion industry as a whole is a major contributor to water pollution. In addition, the production of clothing often involves the use of harmful chemicals, which can be released into the environment and contribute to air and water pollution.
Another problem with fast fashion is the amount of waste it generates. The average person in the United States throws away about 70 pounds of clothing each year, and much of this clothing ends up in landfills, where it can take hundreds of years to decompose. This not only contributes to the pollution of the environment, but it also means that valuable resources are being wasted.
Approximately 6.9 million tons of waste is sent to the Sudokwon landfill site in South Korea every year, which is more than any other landfill site worldwide.
Fast fashion is bad for you
Fast fashion also encourages consumers to buy more clothes than they need. Because the clothing is cheap and trendy, people are often tempted to buy more items than they can realistically wear. This leads to overconsumption and a culture of disposability, where people are more likely to throw away clothing that is no longer in fashion rather than donate or recycle it.
If you want to donate clothes, we find some organizations and links you can find in this article.
The Shein example
Shein is a fast fashion e-commerce platform that is valued at around $91 billion in early 2022.
The company relies mostly on digital marketing with more than 23 million followers on Instagram.
The real truth about Shein clothes is that they are made of very cheap materials and you can not wear them even once. We understand that the price is very good, but the quality? They only use polyester, nylon, or other synthetic fibers.
None knows who the owner is and what the details of the company are. It is based in China and that is enough to make us suspicious.
Can you see the problem? If not let us explain the reasons.
- Employees are working to ver 75 hours per week with one day off each month.
- The Chinese labor law states that the maximum hours per week are 40, with 36 hours of overtime per month and one day off each week.
- Employees are working without an employment contract. (no comments here)
- The work is extremely stressful because mostly the orders are for small quantities and the times need to be produced very quickly. That means that the workers need to be experienced or they can not meet the deadlines.
- The employees are paid per item, with no minimum wage, and no overtime
- Without an employment contract, they don’t have social security benefits. No insurance.
Read the full article here from publiceye.ch
You will think that is normal in Chinese factories. China has a population of 1.44 billion people in 2023. India has the same population of 1.38 billion. Data based on the latest United Nations Population Division estimates.
Companies like Shein with hundreds of thousands of workers are making the problem worse. Let us know in the comments below what would be the solution.
Zara and H&M
Zara is the king of fast fashion. With over 2.000 stores in 96 countries, they have a revenue of $20 billion per year.
H&M has over 4.800 stores in 75 markets with a revenue of $24.8 billion per year.
The big difference between the 2 companies is profitability, almost 13% for Zara against 6% for H&M.
Data is publicly available, you can visit this Wikipedia link for more info.
So what are the problems?
- One major issue is that fast fashion contributes to the overconsumption of clothing, which in turn can lead to excessive clothing waste. This can put a strain on the environment, as the production of clothing requires significant amounts of energy and resources, and disposing of clothing in landfills can lead to the release of greenhouse gases.
- In addition to environmental impacts, fast fashion can also have negative social and economic consequences. The production of fast fashion clothing often takes place in developing countries, where labor laws and worker protections may be weaker. This can lead to the exploitation of workers, including unsafe working conditions and low wages.
- Furthermore, the constant turnover of styles and trends in fast fashion can lead to a culture of disposability, in which clothing is seen as disposable and not meant to be kept for a long time. This can promote a loop of wasteful buying and inspire a disregard for the clothing we already own.
- Fast fashion can also contribute to the homogenization of fashion, as clothing produced by fast fashion companies is often designed to be widely appealing and trends are quickly copied and reproduced. This can lead to a lack of diversity and creativity in the fashion industry.
Sweatshops are factories or workshops that often operate in conditions that violate labor laws. While they are frequently connected to the apparel and textile sector, they can also be found in other sectors including toy and electronics manufacturing.
Sweatshops are often characterized by low wages, long working hours, and poor working conditions. Workers in sweatshops may be paid less than the minimum wage, and they may be forced to work long hours without overtime pay. In addition, they may have to work in cramped, poorly ventilated, and unsafe environments. This can lead to a range of health problems, including respiratory disorders, skin diseases, and other illnesses.
Sweatshops are generally considered to be unethical because they exploit workers and undermine labor laws and standards. The sweatshop employees frequently lack the necessary safety gear or training and they could even be made to work in hazardous situations. This can lead to accidents and injuries, and it can also contribute to the spread of diseases.
The existence of sweatshops is a major concern for many people, including workers, labor rights advocates, and consumers. There have been numerous efforts to eliminate sweatshops and to improve the conditions for workers, but these efforts have often been met with resistance from factory owners and other interested parties. Trade unions and non-governmental organizations, for example, have campaigned to increase public awareness of sweatshops and put pressure on governments and businesses to take action to improve working conditions.
Overall, sweatshops are a complex and controversial issue, and there is no easy solution to the problem. It will require a combination of efforts from a range of stakeholders, including governments, companies, and workers, to ensure that workers are protected and treated fairly.
In summary, rapid fashion is a problem because it is unsustainable and could harm humans and the environment. Rather than buying cheap, subpar apparel that will only be worn sometimes, it is better to invest in higher-quality clothing that will last longer and be more environmentally friendly.
We didn’t mention child labor and other non-ethical and prohibited-by-the-law examples. We should take all reasonable precautions to protect people.