The question that has been lingering in the mind of many people especially designers is what is fast fashion exactly? Well, in this article, I will explain the exact definition of fast fashion and explain more on its details.
First and foremost, fast fashion is the design, manufacture, and production process aimed at making large amounts of clothes that will be made available to the public for purchase. It focuses on the Garment production industry which is aimed at replicating fashion trends and using low quality materials to avail large volumes of clothes to the masses at an affordable price.
This has however come with a very high price to pay in the long run. All these low quality materials tend to have a negative impact on the environment since they are difficult to recycle hence pollute the environment. The garment workers’ health is also compromised and consumers will eventually feel the pinch on their money eventually. All these have been discussed in various sections below.
Trends of fast fashion
For many years, the fashion industry had been guided by the four seasons (summer, autumn, winter, and spring). Designers would brainstorm months before the next season started, to design clothes that they believe the public will be more into when the next season starts. They would meet in summer to design clothes for autumn, then meet in autumn to design for winter, then meet in winter to design for spring. The vicious cycle will then begin by meeting in spring to design for the next summer and so on.
However, this method ended up discouraging the public from embracing the new trends. Things were not getting better since fashion had been described as being for the rich only. Strict rules enforced this, making it even harder for the fashion industry to expand.
The tide began turning in the 1960s. A marketing scheme was unveiled during this period and it seemed like it was perfectly timed. Consumers proved they were ready to embrace the new fashion trends after the test run carried out with paper clothes proved fruitful. The fashion company then started speeding up the production process and making the clothes more affordable to the masses.
Since then, the fashion industry has been working tirelessly to ensure that they produce new trends every week to make customers yearn for more. Any designer outlet needs to have a large stock of the newly designed clothes every week so as to keep up with the high demand from the consumers. Replication of streetwear has made all this possible and designers usually race against time to ensure that they come up with something new every week. The consumer preference and trends also play a huge role in giving a picture to the designers on how to predict the next clothes to make.
Concept that explains what is fast fashion
Fast fashion brands have been working extremely hard to ensure that they design clothes that would suit consumers’ needs and sell at very high rate. They are willing to enforce any stage of the production process to ensure that these clothes reach the market quickly. These clothes then sale at a very reasonable price so as to make them more affordable to the consumers. Some of the various labels that follow this trend are Peacocks, Forever 21, H&M, C&A, Uniqlo, and Zara.
Negative effects of fast fashion
The production process involved in fast fashion is usually very fast. The clothes are produced in their masses without ensuring that they undergo a quality assurance check. The main aim of fast fashion is to avail large volumes of clothes to the consumers at a cheaper price to ensure that they buy them quickly.
These fashion labels usually rake in huge profits because of the high number of clothes that are usually bought. They use very affordable materials to make these clothes and in turn gain the profits earned from the sale of these clothes. The companies earn a lot of money while their workers earn very little. These companies extort cheap labour from these workers who usually choose to endure all this because there isn’t a lot of options out there. Jobs are scarce so they are forced to take this one and endure it so as to put food on the table.
These clothes also have very adverse effects to the environment. An example is the fast fashion label Boohoo. Toxic chemicals are usually used in production of these clothes together with hazardous dyes and synthetic fabrics. The lead levels in these garments are usually very high. Since they are usually difficult to recycle, they are dumped irresponsibly on the environment. The toxic chemicals in these garments then percolates into water supplies and the soil. These chemicals rarely breakdown so they tend to pollute the water sources and also the air.
The health of the garment workers is also at very high risk. A toxic chemical such as benzothiazole is highly carcinogenic and also causes other respiratory diseases. This same toxic chemical is used in the production process of these clothes. Since the workers lack proper PPEs, they are heavily exposed to these chemicals. We as consumers we are not spared at all. These clothes tends to affect our skin and also our respiratory organs and general health.
The woes of the garment workers does not end there. Apart from being exposed to these hazardous chemicals, they are also underpaid, underfed, and also face physical abuse that leads to actual physical harm. An example is the Nike Sweatshop. They are known to pay their workers very poorly and also expose them to physical harm. They take advantage of the situations these workers are in where they have only very few options in terms of employment.
Champions against fast fashion
Slow fashion is just what we need to embrace so as to counter the damage brought about by fast fashion. Clothes from slow fashion usually do not have a lot of toxic chemicals, are of high quality, they are long lasting, and can be easily recycled. The production process also respects the rights of the garment workers. They are well paid, have proper PPEs, and are also well taken care of.