Negative Aspects of the Fashion Industry

Being a fashion marketing and management major, I have a biased opinion towards how much I love fashion and why it’s one the greatest aspects of my life. It’s given me a career path that combines work with passion. However, I thought it would be interesting to find out what the negative effects fashion has on our society and resources.

To start with, I think one of the most important sides to fashion is how much of a resource intensive industry it really is. It is bad for both natural, human and animal resources due to quick production and over consumption. There are four major areas fashion influences in a negative manner; waste, water, toxic chemicals and non-renewable energy. This then leads to affecting the daily lives of humans around the world too. In countries like China, Indonesia and Bangladesh, there are drinking waterways where companies pollute and dump highly toxic substances. As for animals, wool and leather are majorly made in counties that lack  animal welfare legislation and these animals are treated with abuse.


Another area which I don’t totally agree with is how it influences the way people look at you and the way it can make you feel about yourself. Taking one of the biggest fashion brands known worldwide, Victoria’s Secret, as an example, we can all see how they promote being skinny and tall as “ideal”. We all have favorite Victoria’s Secret angels and we follow them and their journeys on Instagram and Twitter, but there are at least a few times, I can say, I’ve looked at them and wondered why I’m not as skinny or why I don’t look as beautiful. However, not just for this brand, there are several runway models that also promote this distorted image of women.  


Moreover, fashion tends to overlap which in turn leads to designers of both smaller as well as well-known houses and brands to copy each other’s work. When fashion houses do this, they will sell them for different prices which may make it easier for the original houses to lose customers because they found a cheaper, similar option elsewhere. The problem with this is also the lack of originality. This leaves no room for fresh ideas to grow and people become accustomed and later bored of this repetitive work.  


Though I love fashion, there are definitely ways I as a marketer would like to work with specific brands to make them unique while continuing to follow trends and gaining more customers.