These years, fast fashion has taken the apparel market by storm, providing affordable, trendy clothes available to consumer just weeks after the designs appear on the runway. In order to meet the fashion’s fickle consumer’s demand, companies like Zara, H&M and Topshop has succeeded by cutting down the production lead-time and improving the match between supply and demand to produce in-store stock more frequently. Indeed, in the fashion industry fast fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry, consumer has contributed to the rapid growth of the fast fashion industry, with 9.7% per year over the last five years, according to financial holding company CIT. ( Zhai, 2016 )
Recently, with the economy going down, fast fashion retailers have been dropping their prices and operating on low margins. This has however, trigger the purchase of consumer who are price conscious. With the increase of purchase of the fast-fashion design that is designed to fall apart after a few washes, most of it ended up on a landfill full of apparels that have been disposed. The cheap price and poor quality of many items produced have gained names like ‘McFashion’, even to ‘Landfill fashion’ to ‘Throwaway Fashion’. ( Raz, 2014 )
This circumstance has brought up issues such as sustainability, fair labor conditions, and more. By producing at such a low margin, it requires manufacturer in countries where the wages are low and labours were used excessively. Talking about the labour conditions, a collapse of an apparel-manufacturing factory in Bangladesh in 2013 which killed more than 1100 workers has increased the awareness of consumer, leading consumers to questions about where and how their clothes are made of. ( Nayelli, 2015 )
Hence, responding to the rising consciousness among consumers nowadays, more brands are undergoing a fashion makeover intending on making the clothes more sustainable. Now the question here is, can fast fashion be sustainable and survived long haul? In my point of view, given those unsustainable impacts that I have mentioned just now, for fast fashion to be sustainable, it is almost impossible. ( Katherine, 2014 ) If the idea of fast fashion continues, more products will be thrown, not recycled, the environment will not being taken good care of, and we are no longer have a healthy planet to live on.
Today, opposite from fast fashion, slow fashion is slowly leading the movement in the fashion industry, providing more ethically and sustainably made apparel to solve the problems that have been mentioned just now. In conjunction with the rise of consumers who actually start caring about the process of where apparels are manufactured and look for sustainable clothing, who found a sense of moral affirmation in purchasing, emerging designers such as Zady, Modavanti and more pride themselves in selling high quality apparel made by ethically treated workers that can last long in the wardrobe. In particularly, one of the brands, Zady has even launched ‘The New Standard’, a roadmap and set of guidelines to help fashion labels in improving sustainability and human rights. ( Devicedaily, 2015 )
To conclude, no doubt in countries that are still recovering from economic recession, no surprise that consumer will still go for fast fashion apparel which is cheaper. However, looking at long-term effects, fast fashions will, eventually caused the excessive of pesticide use, the exploitation of workers’ rights and the disposed apparels that increasingly constitute to landfill problem. Fast fashion will depletes Earth’s resources. Hence, fast fashion is definitely not sustainable and it will not survive the long haul. A smart businessman or a smart brand would address those issues today and try to make a change for a better environment.
The clothing industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and one of the largest employers of slave and child labor.
– Maxine Bedat, co-founder of Zady –
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