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Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion

Who doesn’t love new clothes? Let me correct myself. Who doesn’t love cheap clothes? Today the fast fashion industry is training consumers to be bargain shoppers that value quantity over quality. Customers are increasing their standard of living because they can afford to purchase more low-priced items. Retail companies are outsourcing their manufacturing processes in countries that charge a fraction of American manufacturers' costs. The manufacturing process includes women and children working under harsh conditions with an unlivable wage. The sweatshops violate fundamental human rights and child labor laws.

 

Bangladesh is notorious for having the worst sweatshop working conditions. Sweatshop workers sometimes work 16-hour shifts for as low as twenty cents per shift (Travis, 2016). Many families are unable to afford to feed or cloth their children with these incredibly low wages. Mothers resort to bringing their children to work to watch over them and generate more income. Child labor is prevalent in fast fashion sweatshops. "10% of the [sweatshop] workers are under 12 years old, 15-20% are under the age of 15, and 25% are younger than 18 years old" (International Trade Union Confederation, 2010). Fast fashion is destroying lives, families, and childhood memories simply because we want cheaper clothes.

 

The industry has faced the issue that consumers want clothes that are trendy and don’t cost much. Once we see a celebrity on social media wear a stylish top, we immediately try to find a similar top at a fraction of the original cost. Next time you see a fast-fashion company selling a $5 graphic t-shirt, remember that the shirt's price reflects someone else's hardship. We must be educated consumers and realize that we vote on what we support with our dollars.

 

Work Cited

International Trade Union Confederation. (2010) Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Bangladesh. Refworld. Retrieved from https://www.refworld.org/docid/4c4fec90c.html.

H. Travis. (2016). A Day in The Life of a Sweatshop Worker. Odyssey. Retrieved from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/day-in-the-life-of-sweatshop-worker.

 

I am majoring in Business Management at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. I have a passion for fashion and plan to open a women's fashion boutique.
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