This content has been restricted to logged in users only. Please login to view this content.
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Explained Simply For Kids & Teens

Want to write for us? Click Here

What is Fast Fashion?

Written by Isha Bhatt.

Fast fashion means the quick production of cheaper, short-lived clothing based on the latest trends.

By I Kid You Not , in Environment , at February 20, 2024 Tags:

Written by Isha Bhatt

What is fast fashion? If you’ve wondered what this term means, here’s where we tell you all about fast fashion and why it’s something you should know about.

But first, a question.

Do you love Zara, H&M and other such fashion brands that produce trendy clothes? Well, here’s the thing to know. This industry, known as fast fashion, is responsible for approximately 10% of carbon emissions globally. It also leads to water pollution and wastage – it’s actually the second-biggest consumer of water.

Here’s all about fast fashion and it’s impact on our world.

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion means the quick production of cheaper, short-lived clothing based on the latest trends. The term is used to describe a model of clothing production and consumption where there’s a quick turnaround time to respond to the latest trends.

When we say the words “fast fashion”, most of us usually think of brands such as H&M, Zara and Shein.

Here are some key data points on how fast fashion impacts the environment:

What’s wrong with fast fashion?

Fast Fashion

It’s true that fast fashion provides us with is affordable clothes that are trendy, but it has some very negative impacts on the environment as well as on society. 

Environmental Impact

Fast fashion encourages, what’s called, a “throwaway” culture. This means that clothes are produced quickly, worn for a little time and then thrown or given away – and this leads to a lot of textile waste, apart from a waste of resources and pollution.

Water pollution and wastage: The use of chemicals in dyeing and finishing processes pollute the soil and water. A report by Greenpeace found hazardous chemicals in water discharged by major textile factories in China.

Microplastics in water: These are really small pieces of non-biodegradable plastic. The garments are usually made of synthetic fibres and thirty five percent of microplastics in our oceans come from the washing of such synthetic textiles.

Fast fashion apparel has emerged as a significant source of microplastics in the seas and oceans, in addition to decomposing in landfills and being burned. The low-cost, plastic-based textiles release fibres into the water.

Landfills: The quick change in trends and the short lifespan of clothing leads to the discarded clothes ending up in landfills or being burned, which again leads to more environmental degradation.

More Emissions: Large amounts of clothes and textiles need to be transported and this leads to the transportation of materials and finished products over long distances, contributing to carbon emissions and eventually, climate change.

Social Impact

The human side: Fast fashion usually uses low-cost labour in developing countries. In many of the factories the workers face poor working conditions, low wages, and exploitation.

It is no secret that the fashion industry engages in labour exploitation; nonetheless, in spite of the widespread attention this issue has received, businesses continue to violate the law and use unethical business tactics in order to keep costs down. Working long hours for little money and not having access to healthcare are just a few of the difficulties that workers still face today.

In addition to the exploitation of children, mothers are often subjected to sexual abuse and harassment. Workers work for long hours with minimum wages and with no access to healthcare. A US Department of labour report (in 2018) had found that forced and child labour was used in the fashion industry in many countries.

Safety concerns: Because fast fashion puts pressure on the system to produce clothes quickly, it often leads to unsafe working conditions. There have been tragic incidents in the past where workers have lost lives.

Zara, H&M and Shein

Fast Fashion

Among the top 10 fast fashion companies in the world that allegedly engage in unethical practices like labour exploitation during product manufacturing are H&M, Zara, and Shein.

A few other well-known brands are fashion Nova, Forever 21. These organizations have been accused for allegedly employing cheap, synthetic materials, that are terrible for the environment, and for engaging in unethical labour practices.

Hard Facts to know about Fast Fashion

Fast Fashion

The industry produces about 92 million tonnes of textiles waste every year

Approximately 100 billion garments produced every year. Out of this 92 million tonnes are discarded and this ends up in landfills. If something is not done to stop this, this number could rise to 134 million tonnes by 2030!

The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of waste water in the world

This is one of the most damaging aspects of fast fashion. The constant production of clothes leads to dyeing and finishing the garments. This process of applying colour and chemicals to clothes is damaging to the environment – both from a pollution and water wastage perspective. It leads to 3% of global CO2 emissions and more than 20% of global water pollution.

Did you know: It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one t-shirt! That’s water for one person to drink for 900 days.

Here’s another fact to know about fast fashion: If you buy one white cotton shirt or drive 35 miles (about 56 kms) in a car, it will produce the same amount of emissions!

Eighty percent of garments are said to be made by young women ho are between the ages of 18 and 24.

Fast Fashion

We consider what to wear, what shoes to wear, and what bags to carry almost every day. The fast fashion sector supplies the majority of our clothing, and most consumers have no idea how their clothing is made.

While it is evident that we cannot suddenly quit shopping at large fast fashion retailers, we may start exploring for better options, such as small enterprises.

The majority of small businesses provide lovely, reasonably priced clothing that is somewhat environmentally responsible as well. In order for consumers to be conscious going forward, it is imperative that they understand what they wear and how it is made.

Think about this the next time you wear something for a short time and decide to buy yet another piece of clothing you really do not need!

General knowledge for kids and teens

Better Your Child’s G.K. In 3 Minutes – Get This Free Newsletter
Get fun facts, simple and easy news, quizzes, and lots of other interesting things to read in your mailbox – for free! It’s what we call GK-on-the-go!

I Kid You Not now has a large readership across India and also parts of the world. If you want to write for us, you can submit your story here. You can also apply to become a news anchor. Apply here