With fashion trends rapidly changing, the fashion industry is placed under pressure to produce new styles quickly and for a cheap price. Although consumers enjoy having the latest trends at their fingertips with the convenience of online shopping, the rise of fast fashion will have a long-lasting detrimental impact on the environment. Fashion is considered “fast” for a variety of reasons; the constant change in trends is fast, the rate of production is fast, the consumer’s decision and methods of buying are fast, delivery is fast, and articles of clothing are worn fast before they are tossed and to never be used again.
Fast fashion is the mass production of cheap, poor quality, disposable clothing. The fashion industry focuses on keeping up with the latest trends and producing as many articles of clothing at once and placing them at a cheap price to pull consumers in. The estimated number of times the average item of clothing is worn is only fourteen times. In fact, The Guardian reported in 2019 that one in three young women considered an item worn just once to be “old.” Given the easy access to the most recent trends as well as cheap pricing, consumers are essentially encouraged to simply wear and toss. Although it appears simple, this fast process makes it easy to overlook the negative impact on the environment. To give you an idea of what this looks like, the fashion industry produces approximately eighty billion articles of clothing a year and our clothes can take nearly 200 years to decompose. The fashion industry prides itself on keeping up with the times which is the essential driver of fast fashion, but it is in fact doing the opposite behind the scenes. It may demonstrate the appearance of fast and easy, but this approach will have long-lasting environmental consequences.
Gager, Abby, "Fast Fashion: A Price the Planet Has to Pay" (2022). Environmental Law Journal blog. 7.