A business strategy for the fashion industry known as “fast fashion” involves the quick and low-cost production of new collections of apparel and accessories in order to keep up with the newest trends. This model stands out for its emphasis on speed, low costs, and high output levels. Businesses that use this business model frequently produce a lot of inexpensive, trendy apparel and accessories, which they then resell either directly to consumers or through other shops.
Regarding the environment, the fast fashion business model has a tremendous effect. The quick creation of new collections uses a lot of materials, including water, electricity, and other resources, and produces a lot of garbage. Water is a major resource needed in the manufacture of clothing and accessories, especially cotton. Additionally, the dyes and finishing agents used in textile dyeing and finishing can contaminate water sources. Due to its considerable contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, the fashion sector also plays a key role in causing climate change. Carbon dioxide emissions are also significantly increased when clothing and accessories are transported, especially by air.
Due to the frequent replacement of inexpensive, trendy things with new ones and swift discarding of the old ones, the fast fashion business model also produces a substantial amount of trash. This adds to the issue of textile and clothing waste, a significant contributor to environmental degradation. Ninety-two million tons out of the 100 billion garments of clothing manufactured each year end up in landfills. To put things in perspective, this indicates that every second, a garbage truck’s worth of clothing ends up dumped on landfills. By the end of the decade, 134 million tons of fast fashion garbage are anticipated to be produced annually if the current trend holds. An estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste, or 85% of all textiles, are disposed of in landfills each year in America alone. This translates to about 2,150 pieces each second nationwide and 81.5 pounds (37 kg) per person annually.
In addition to these negative effects on the environment, the fast fashion business model has also been in the headlines for its negative effects on society, including the usage of subpar working conditions in factories and the exploitation of cheap labor in underdeveloped nations.
Fast fashion businesses frequently outsource production to underdeveloped nations where labor is cheaper in order to produce garments and accessories swiftly and affordably. For factory workers, this may mean unfavorable working conditions and low pay. Workers in these workplaces could put in lengthy shifts for insufficient pay while also lacking access to amenities like clean water and restrooms. Workers may occasionally experience verbal or physical abuse.
Additionally, there have been incidents of forced and child labor, as well as other forms of labor abuse, in the fashion business. Fast fashion retailers have come under fire for failing to verify that such violations are absent from their supply networks. Along with these problems, the fast fashion business model has been criticized for its effects on regional economies and cultural norms. The loss of local jobs and the deterioration of traditional craftsmanship may result from the outsourcing of production to emerging nations.
A significant movement has been underway in recent years to promote more ethical and ecological fashion practices, including a move away from fast fashion and toward slower, more deliberate methods of both fashion consumption and production. This involves emphasizing fair work methods, assisting regional economies, and preserving traditional craftsmanship.