The Issue With Fast Fashion

A building emits CO2 into the air. Credits to: 

Haley Sawyer, Journalist

Buying cheaper “trendy” clothes online has never been easier; brands like Shein, Forever 21, Romwe, Fashion Nova, Zara, H&M, and many more sell cheaper clothing. But there is a huge problem with these companies. These companies seem too good to be true, and in fact, they are. These companies spark a lot of ethical concerns as their clothing is made in sweatshops. If you don’t know, a sweatshop is where manual workers are employed and work long hours, with very low pay. These sweatshops generally are in conditions that are not safe for work. Most of the time these sweatshops are illegal because of these terrible working conditions. Workers don’t even get breaks in these shops. Even companies you wouldn’t think would do this, including Nike, Adidas, Old Navy, and even Apple. In fact, most of these sweatshops use child labor.

These companies even affect the world around us, Shein and Romwe are the biggest issue; the clothing sold by these companies can sometimes contain a dangerous amount of lead and chemicals in them. Lead can cause anemia, weakness, can cause complications with pregnancy, and even brain/kidney damage. These brands produce so much clothing at a time that most of it ends up in landfill, and when they aren’t “trendy” anymore these articles of clothing end up in the landfill too. Adding onto their waste contribution, the clothing from these companies usually contain more than 60% synthetic fibers in clothing, which do not decay. The fashion industry is also responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions, which is more than international flights and shipping combined. One cotton shirt takes about 700 gallons of water to produce. Online influencers tend to “promote” these brands because they are “trendy” or “in style” and cheaper, which is how these companies gain traction and get lots of buyers.

I understand that not everyone can afford clothing and may buy clothing from these companies for financial comfort, but there are much better alternatives. Such as thrifting, selling, and trading clothes online, or you could buy clothes from sustainable brands. Some good sustainable brands are Pact, which has a very wide price range in clothing and lots of sizes, Vetta is another good company, they use recycled and deadstock fabric, and also include lots of sizes. I believe that thrifting is the best option out of all of these, you can find lots of affordable clothing (probably for even cheaper prices). Some places to check out are Value Village, Goodwill, and some local thrift shops. You can even find thrift accounts on social media that sell clothing for cheaper. Shopping at thrift stores is actually good for the environment too, as you are keeping clothing out of landfills. This then reduces the amount of chemical and carbon pollution. Most thrift shops actually support local charities too. 

This needs to change in the fashion industry, if we don’t do anything about this in the next few years we will see our water levels rising, flooding, heat waves, and wildlife will lose their homes. And it’s already starting. Here’s some other ways to help out: recycle your clothing, reduce the fuel you use everyday, only buy what you need, and maybe consider growing some plants. All in all, I hope you take this seriously, as our planet is at risk. Thank you for reading and again, do what you can to help.