High-speed fashion has attracted hordes of young trendsetters shopping for reasonably priced clothes online amid rising inflation, but the growing industry hides deeper environmental issues.
The bad side of high-speed fashion
(Photo: JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo: JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)
Boohoo in the UK, SHEIN in China and Emmiol in Hong Kong all use the same Internet-based business strategy to create products and collections quickly and cost-effectively.
Better-known “fast fashion” brands with physical locations, such as H&M in Sweden and Zara in Spain, face fierce competition from these companies, according to the Japan Times.
Young people under the age of 25 – sometimes referred to as Generation Z – like to place fast fashion orders, which are then delivered by mail.
Greenpeace, on the other hand, has criticized the “disposable clothing” trend as outrageous waste, saying it consumes 2,700 gallons of water to produce a T-shirt that is quickly thrown away.
According to the environmental group, many of these cheap clothes end up in large landfills, burned on open fires, along riverbeds and washed into the sea, with serious consequences for people. and the world.
Photos of piles of substandard clothes that were thrown away or returned to the vendor shortly after purchase have gone viral, drawing attention to the huge amount of waste.
Due to decades-long high inflation, the demand for cheap clothes has increased, making it difficult for many COVID-hit and high overhead street shops to compete.
T-shirts cost customers $4.80, while dresses and bikinis cost only $8-9.
Lola, an 18-year-old from Nancy and French high school student, has made SHEIN shopping a low-cost hobby.
Unaware of the environmental impact, she claimed the brand simply allowed her to keep up with current fashions without spending huge sums.
Lola often purchases 10 items for an average total of $71 in two to three orders each month from SHEIN.
The young super-fast fashion target market, like Lola, just has less money to spend.
As a result, these customers want quantity rather than quality of clothing, according to Valérie Guillard, professor of economics at Paris-Dauphine University.
However, the company is notorious for consuming invaluable resources and harming the environment.
Scandals involving alleged poor working conditions in their factories have also hit high-speed fashion companies.
In November 2021, the Swiss NGO Public Eye learned that workers at several SHEIN factories were working up to 75 hours a week, in violation of Chinese labor standards.
Following media claims that its suppliers were underpaying workers in Pakistan, Britain’s Boohoo has also come under fire.
Moreover, according to the French Agency for Ecological Transition, fast fashion is responsible for an incredible 2% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions.
This equates to all sea and air traffic.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg has expressed her dissatisfaction with the gender in the meantime.
Last year, Thunberg urged change in a letter that the fashion industry is a huge contributor to the climate and ecological emergency, not to mention its impact on the countless workers and communities who are being exploited across the world. so some can take advantage of fast fashion. which many treat as disposable products.
Read also: How the fashion industry and consumer culture are destroying our environment
Ways to reduce clothing waste
In addition to cutting back on making new clothes, people also need to stop throwing away clothes that are no longer in their closets.
According to 2017 estimates, a garbage truck full of textiles is burned or landfilled every second, according to CHEC International.
Instead, a large volume of clothing can be recycled to make new clothing or other products.
Although it is possible to recycle clothing, less than 1% of the total fabric used to make clothing is recycled into new clothing.
Only 12% of waste is recycled and used for things like insulation or mattress padding.
There are a few suggestions for minimizing clothing waste.
Washing at lower temperatures and repairing when possible will prolong the life of the garments.
Sell or donate old clothes to a charity store. Used clothing can be sold on a variety of shopping websites. If something can’t be fixed or can’t be given to another person, put it in a bag and recycle the bag once it’s full.
After that, the clothes will be transformed into brand new things like cleaning rags, industrial blankets or chair padding.
Old clothes and other textiles can be donated to one of the many UK textile banks. Typically, people can find them in nearby parking lots and supermarkets.
To find the location of the nearest textile bank, visit the Recycle Now website.
Many stores will recycle people’s old textiles and clothes if they donate the clothes to them.
We need to change our consumption habits to achieve a sustainable future.
Without it, we will not be able to stop the epidemic of food waste or the climate issue.
Our clothing choices and the fast fashion trend are no better.
We need to take better care of the clothes we wear now and those we leave behind.
Related article: Sustainable fashion, clothes that make the world a better place
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