Fast Fashion - How it Works

 Throughout the fashion industry every day we see more of a concept known as ‘fast fashion’.  


High street favourites such as ‘H&M’, ‘Zara’, ‘Pull&Bear’, ‘Bershka’, ‘River Island’ and ‘Penney’s’ are all fan favourites because of how quickly they transfer the latest catwalk fashion into their stores for an affordable price.  


Fast fashion brands reap the rewards of returning customers and hefty profit even though they force sweatshop workers from primarily Asian countries to exchange their human rights for cheap labour. While also damaging the environment in the process. 


Putting a stop to the unethical values behind fast fashion portrays itself as a moral dilemma. If you buy the clothes from these stores you are only funding the continuation of sweatshops. If you don’t buy from them, the clothing waste contributes to climate change thanks to the toxic fabric dyes and short material lifespan. Any clothes that are deemed ‘out of trend’ end up in landfills, littering the lands of third world countries like Africa and Haiti. 


However, college students can’t afford to be picky as most can barely keep up with their rent never mind shell out cash for designer purchases. It can often feel like fast fashion stores are taunting you, pushing you into a corner because they know you have no choice but to give in. 


Shops are full of affordable and ethically produced products, but unfortunately, that seems to only apply to food or beauty products. Unfortunately, there are very few ethical clothing brands that truly match the cost and fashion of our favourite high street brands. Shops such as ‘People Tree’, ‘Thought’ (formerly ‘Braintree’), ‘Grown’ and ‘Fresh Cuts’ all offer ethical, sustainable clothes but do not replace the high street stores, especially in terms of price and accessibility.  


As opposed to these stores, a customer of ‘River Island’ more than likely would not find clothes that just blend into the rest of their wardrobe. Especially when basic t-shirts also average at €30 or more which is a little too steep for college students. 


Whilst go to stores such as ‘Topshop’, ‘H&M’ and ‘New Look’ still participate in the use of sweatshops for producing their products, their transparency has improved significantly.  This does not automatically make them ethical but being able to see what you’re buying and make the decision for yourself instead of feeling tricked into it makes a huge difference to the consumer.  


Even though sweatshops are the hardest things to fight in terms of ethical production, many of their buyers still make some effort to be kind towards the environment by launching eco-friendly lines. ‘Zara’s’ Join life collection and ‘H&M’s’ conscious collection, both utilize organic and raw materials; saving the environment but not straying far from the stores’ overall aesthetic.  


Whilst Fast fashion and the ethical dilemmas it brings to the table is far from over, we are definitely, albeit slowly, headed in the right direction.