Fast Fashion: Bad for people, bad for animals, bad for the planet


Eve Ruybal, Author

Fast fashion is a business model based on replicating trendy clothes and celebrity designs by mass producing them, fast and cheap, to take advantage of the latest fashion trends. Fast fashion is low-priced but stylish clothing that moves quickly from design to retail stores to meet trends, with new collections being introduced continuously.

Until about 20 years ago, clothes shopping was usually limited to each season, or when people outgrew their clothes. But now that clothing has gotten cheaper as trend cycles speed up, shopping has become a leisure activity that nearly everyone indulges in. 

Fast fashion has had a severe negative effect on the environment, has resulted in worker exploitation, causes harm to animals, and has prompted customers to feel under pressure to shop constantly to keep up with trends. 

According to Princeton Research, the clothing industry uses a tenth of the industrial water required to run plants and clean goods. To put this into perspective, it takes 10,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton, or about 3,000 liters of water to make one cotton shirt.

Consumers are disposing of an increasing amount of clothing due to the strong demand for them and the rate at which they are manufactured, resulting in massive garment landfills. The fashion industry also uses large amounts of fossil fuel-based plastic for packaging and hangers, according to Climate Colombia.

Two million metric tons of CO2 are produced by the fashion sector annually, according to research by the MacArthur Foundation. It created more greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 than the carbon produced by France, Germany. and the U.K. combined.

Across the world, the fashion industry exploits workers. According to Justice in Fashion, scandals arise in developing countries with the injustices that garment workers face. Long hours, low pay, no breaks, dangerous working conditions, and no sick pay are all examples of garment workers being exploited. This behavior is frequently compared to modern-day slavery, forced labor, and child labor.

According to data gathered in 2017 by one advocacy group, less than 2 percent of the 75 million garment workers globally are paid a livable wage. 

Not only is fast fashion harming humans, but it is also contributing to animal cruelty.

According to Panaprium, a clothing company that claims to be a source for a conscious, fair, and environmentally friendly lifestyle, several wildlife species are in danger of extinction due to fast fashion. The unlawful international trade in animals persists even though many animals are legally protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). People continue to purchase animal skins, which are offered for sale at startlingly high prices to some of the wealthiest people in the world. 

According to Panaprium, “The brutal slaughtering of animals occurs too often to make fur, wool, leather, silk, goose down, and down feathers.” For example, cattle skins are commonly used in the production of leather. 

According to Sustainably Chic, if everyone stopped buying leather, the meat business would suffer financially and probably have to shrink, which would lead to fewer animals being slaughtered and less greenhouse gas emissions.