Fast fashion is a term used to describe the quick production and distribution of clothing. It is a booming industry that has transformed the way we consume fashion… but at what cost?
The impact of fast fashion on the environment is alarming. The industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of wastewater. Textile dyeing and treatment contribute to 17-20% of industrial water pollution. Fast fashion also creates a massive amount of textile waste. It is estimated that the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned every second. The use of synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, contributes to the release of microplastics into the ocean, harming marine life and entering the food chain, so we are essentially harming ourselves.
The impact on workers is equally concerning. Fast fashion companies are notorious for exploiting cheap labour in developing countries. Workers are often paid very low wages and work in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. In 2013, the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh took the lives of 1,134 people and injured more than 2,500 people. This tragedy highlighted the dangerous working conditions faced by garment workers in the fast fashion industry.
The fast fashion industry's business model is built on overconsumption and planned obsolescence. Garments are designed to be worn a few times before being discarded, contributing to the growing waste crisis. The use of synthetic materials means that these clothes do not biodegrade, causing long-term environmental damage.
As consumers, we have the power to make a difference. By choosing to support sustainable and ethical fashion brands, we can reduce the impact of fast fashion on the environment and workers. We can also reduce waste by buying second-hand or renting clothes, repairing and repurposing what we already own, and recycling textile waste.
In conclusion, the impact of fast fashion on the environment and workers is devastating. The industry is responsible for massive carbon emissions, water pollution, and textile waste. Workers face exploitative and dangerous conditions, and the business model encourages overconsumption and waste. We as a community we must act soon, and support sustainable and ethical fashion if we want to create a better future for ourselves and the planet, so shop BB!
By Safi Ullah