Forever 21 is Nearing Its End, Does That Mean Fast Fashion is Ending?

In the latest among large corporations announcing their closures, Forever 21 recently announced that they are actively filing for bankruptcy. As one of the largest retailers in the world for young women and teens, it brings about the conversation of the "fast fashion" industry as a whole. Confused? Let's break it down. 

From dictionary.com, fast fashion is described as the following:

inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends

From hearing this description alone, your mind may quickly shift to retailers like Forever 21 or others such as H&M, Zara, Topshop and more. These retailers share many of the same characteristics. They mass produce their clothing, it comes with a low price ticket and they are quick to follow clothing trends. Think about this, have you ever seen a large named celebrity wearing something amazing and then jump on twitter and see everyone gushing about how they wish they had it? Then, you go to the mall only to find said outfit is in stores, albeit some minor changes, but it's there.

Awesome, right? Wrong. 

There's many problems with this. At it's core, this is what fast fashion is all about. However, this can be incredibly dangerous for those involved in producing the clothing and for the environment itself. 

As culture shifts to finding more sustainable resources, many are finding that thrifting or using second hand stores are better in the long run. Fast fashion also comes at a high price. Many times, these clothes are quickly tossed, even overage in stock, and buyers and corporations don't think twice on the impact this plays on the environment. Clothing is thrown in to landfills only to sit there for a number of years before anything is done with it. The one upside to second hand stores, is that this clothing can be recycled, reworn and put in to the hands of someone that will value that piece of clothing. 

One other dangerous side to fast fashion is the production side to it. "Sweatshops" can be seen as a dirty word in American culture, however, this is often the reality for the workers and the companies that employ them. Many large retailers pawn off their production to underdeveloped countries and pay them less than 3 USD per day of work. These companies justify the use that in order to turn and sell at a low profit, they must operate and produce at the lowest profit. This leads to unsafe working conditions and more. 

These two sides to fast fashion are just a few that come to the forefront when we debate the topic. However, there are a large number of issues that can't always be covered. As we switch to a more sustainable world, we may see a dip in large fashion retailers and as we continue the conversation, more issues can be brought to light. 

On a final note, research and conversation will continue to bring fast fashion to the forefront. As we continue to shift, we must keep in mind what harm fast fashion brings to our world. Forever 21's bankruptcy is just the beginning and we may see more retailers following suit in the future. We might not be able to predict the future, but we can atleast help shape it.