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jenna raine
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Style > Fashion

Is Fast Fashion Okay?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Oswego chapter.

If you have ever been on the internet I am sure you have heard discourse around fashion. Some may argue that fast fashion is wrong and you should avoid it at all costs, while others may say that it is an affordable alternative for people who still want to dress nice without breaking the bank. In this article, I am going to discuss both sides of the argument and share my opinion on whether or not people should use fast fashion.

To begin, I think the biggest issue most people have with fast fashion is the fact that a lot of the clothes are poorly made, and oftentimes end up in landfills within a few months of people buying the clothes. With the popularity of online shops like Shein, fast fashion is more attainable, trendy, and cheaper than ever. With the influence of social media, this has promoted a culture of overconsumption. This is a problem that has long existed within consumer culture but has only been exemplified and exacerbated by the lifestyles of many online influencers and trends. Many people would make the claim that living and consuming to the extent that many people on social media are, is completely unsustainable and only contributes to the exploitation of oftentimes young and underpaid workers. 

On the other hand, however, if you have ever tried to shop sustainably, you are very aware of how quickly things can get costly. Oftentimes a single shirt from a sustainable and ethical brand can cost up to thirty-plus dollars. For most people in this country, spending hundreds of dollars on a select few items is extremely unrealistic. So when that is the case, many would argue that it is okay to shop in fast fashion, as long as you are shopping wisely and taking care of the clothes. 

So that brings me to where I stand on the subject. Personally, I can see where both sides of the argument are coming from. I do believe that overconsumption is a huge problem around the world and should be called out. But, I do not believe that this is a problem that is solely the fault of everyday individuals. We are not responsible for the wrong-doings of million, sometimes billion-dollar companies. I have grown so tired of seeing people getting shamed for using fast fashion. Whether someone spends thirty dollars or four hundred on one shopping trip, it does not matter to me. When I discourse around these issues I can’t help but wonder, why are people being held accountable for companies exploiting their workers? Sure, shopping with these brands allows these companies to flourish. But, in a culture where you are constantly bombarded with consumer products, how are you expected not to fall into temptation? It is almost impossible and that is the point. This is no fault of ours, so why instead of blaming these companies, do we blame people for falling into the temptation of consuming, even though these companies spend billions of dollars a year just to convince us to do just that? This is a problem with our culture, not people. There should be stricter laws in place that prohibit companies from going internationally and exploiting children and lower-class individuals. I believe the problem with fast fashion goes a lot deeper than just “stop buying from these brands”. With all that said, do I believe fast fashion is okay? No absolutely not, does that mean I believe people should stop using it? My answer is also no. I think the issues with fast fashion say more about consumer culture than it does about the kind of people we as consumers are. Instead of blaming each other for using fast fashion. Let’s put the blame on the very companies that are using corrupt and cruel practices in order to make a profit. You are not a bad person for shopping with Shein, you are just a broke college student and that is okay. With this, I want to add I am not promoting overconsumption. Rather, I just want to shift the conversation away from your one hundred dollar shein order and instead towards the political and economic factors that go into play when big businesses can pay their workers close to nothing for the labor that makes them billions.

I am a student at SUNY Oswego studying a BA of Arts in Political Science and minoring in Creative Writing. I am eager to express myself through my articles and hope to improve my skills!