This past semester I took a human geography class. In the course I learned about the impacts of fast fashion on the environment and humans.
Fast Fashion is a recent concept introduced to consumers of fashion. Companies like Forever 21, Zara, H&M, Gap and many others produce garments in an immensely fast pace. The items are made with cheap material that are produced in nations that have a small amount of environmental laws and workers’ rights. This allows these companies to produce large amount of items with little cost. Through their ability to make high quantity of clothes they’re able to encourage shoppers to by more and more and more of their trendy products.
The fast fashion companies are able to benefit from their low quality. For example, you buy a purse and in a month the material starts to rip or peel or the button falls off and then you have to go out and buy more items. It’s a vicious cycle, dude.
Initially, I didn’t find this an issue because the society that I have been raised in sees clothing as a disposable item however my opinion has changed due to what I have learned in class. The factories/sweatshops that the large fast fashion companies use are working their laborers in poor environments, encouraging children to work in unsafe conditions also, they are taking their toxic waste and throwing them in rivers and other areas which affect those who live there by giving them health problems and destroying the environmental balance of the world.
After learning so much about the impacts of fast fashion I realized that I need to do something that can help the humans that are being abused from my spending habits.
So I’m here to introduce the concept of slow fashion. It’s exactly what it sounds like, shop less often and shop better. According to an article by Hilary Milnes on the website digiday.com they say “slow fashion is the deliberate choice to buy better-quality items less often. When purchases are made, they’re environmentally and ethically conscious rather than trend-driven.”
Slow fashion is not the end all be all of all for the problems over seas however being responsible and being intentional about our purchases at least helps. Like the quote by Anna Lappé says “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”
As for me I wouldn’t want someone to spend money to keep me in a cycle that I wouldn’t wish upon someone else. “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 7:12]
So make demands to your favorite fashion companies. Money is a tool that dictates a large sum of our lives, use it to help others. It’s already working! Fast fashion companies are making changes to become more sustainable but we still need to continue. I hope many of you will join me on my journey.