The fast fashion industry has become increasingly popular among our generation, but are the cheap prices worth the consequences? For those who are not informed about fast fashion, it is merchandise that imitates designer trends and is produced in mass quantities using inexpensive materials. College students such as myself are lured to purchase these trendy goods due to their affordability, as the original designs are normally not cost-effective. However, there is a catch to this seemingly perfect deal and I encourage everyone to rethink this shopping habit.
Behind the tactful advertising that undoubtedly catches your attention to purchase these hot items, there is a dilemma of ethics. It is alleged that certain fast fashion businesses have unethical labor practices. The reality is that those cheap prices have to be as low as they are for a reason, exploitative labor is one possibility. Although we don’t have to face the dark side of this industry ourselves, we have a responsibility as consumers to have at least some awareness and knowledge of the businesses we are supporting. The more people fuel fast fashion brands, the larger this industry will grow, which is not an outcome that humanity will benefit from.
There are significant environmental implications with fast fashion, as the supply chain is most certainly not a sustainable one. When there are large quantities of manufactured goods, the negative impact on the environment grows. Examples of this impact include excessive waste of non-biodegradable materials that contribute to pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions. All of these are relevant factors that cause serious damage to our planet and are surely not justifiable for the sake of a cute new outfit.
The question we should ask ourselves after going through the harsh facts of the fast fashion industry is whether it is still worth supporting for its sheer convenience and low cost. I personally don’t believe it is, as the consequences are larger than my individual shopping habits. If you are looking for an ethical place to shop that won’t break the bank, you should check out a local thrift store or resale sites like Poshmark. It might not seem like a single person can minimize the fast fashion industry, but for trends to shift toward sustainable shopping, it has to start with someone.