The Downsides of Fast Fashion

The fashion industry has been developing at an increasingly high rate.

Only a decade ago, there were only a few retail fashion stores that dominated the market.

A decade later, hundreds of tech-based fashion businesses have popped up.

The manufacturing and distribution of clothing have changed dramatically.

This new wave called “fast fashion” has led to many inexpensive fashion lines. Because of this, new collections drop in very short periods  to meet the demand of the current trends.

And although this sounds amazing, fast fashion has been the cause of many economic and environmental problems. 


  1. 1. Polyester Pollution

    One of the biggest environmental issues facing the world today is pollution and surprisingly, clothes are a huge factor in this.

    The microfibers found in synthetic fibers are released into many bodies of water such as rivers and oceans.

    When clothes are washed in domestic washing machines, the microfibers escape with the drained water, finding its way into the sewers and then drained into these waterways. 

    The extremely small sizes of these microfibers make it possible for small aquatic animals to ingest.

    Most fashion lines that fall under the “fast fashion” category tend to use fabrics that contribute to this kind of pollution.   

    While there is a huge number of retail companies that are included in this narrative, there are a handful of designers and manufacturers who are using sustainable and environmentally friendly fabric.

    Some of the fibers they use are considered vegan because they are natural products such as organic cotton and organic linen.

    By using these materials, the fashion industry becomes one less factor adding to the waste dumped in the Earth’s waters. 


  2. 2. Excess and waste of clothing   

    It is now very common for manufacturers to release new articles of clothing every week.

    This is because fashion trends develop quickly.

    For these companies to stay up-to-date with these trends, they manufacture a lot of clothes that will never be sold.

    That is because the more they release, the less they’ll sell of each selection.

    This differs greatly from before when companies would release fall, winter, spring and summer collections and then spend the whole season selling that specific collection.

    Some companies like H&M have begun to advocate for the recycling of clothing. But despite this, it takes more than one company to shift this lifestyle into today’s fashion industry.


  3. 3. Employee problems

    Many companies that fall under the fast fashion umbrella have factories based in countries in Asia and Africa.

    Employees of these companies are exploited and treated poorly.

    Their working conditions are poor.

    Employees in these countries face abuse every day and are forced to work overtime for very low wages.

    Companies like GAP and H&M have been known to be a part of such acts.

    As more and more fast fashion manufacturers populate the industry, it becomes more affordable to produce clothes in third world countries where employees can do the maximum work for the minimum amount of money. 


Although fast fashion has made trendy clothing more affordable, this industry has created a chain of negative outcomes, as well.

Whether it is economic  or environmental issues, the effects are likely to be more prevalent as the fashion world continues to develop.